Oceanwake - _Sunless_
(ViciSolum Records, 2015)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Oceanwake's second offering is darker and generally more menacing than the debut. Gone are the obvious atmospheric hardcore and the melodic doom/death innuendos pointing toward the post-metal direction, interweaving like lovers, creating a harmonious world of beauty, contemplation and soul-searching.

_Sunless_ is a darker offering; the lavish, rich, highly atmospheric doom/death of old has been replaced by a more menacing, primitive and cavernous death metal of the slower, dark metal-oriented, bass-heavy and ceremonial kind. Occasionally _Sunless_ brings to mind acts such as Sonne Adam, _Monotheist_ era Celtic Frost or, dare we say, Necros Christos (if the latter would ditch their old-school-ish inclinations and slow a couple of notches down). This album adopts the modus operandi of the ritualistic, macabre, slow and towering death metal of the simplest, slowest, tribal kind.

Then there's the album's melodic, post-rock-ish, atmospherically significant and melancholic aspect; the band seem to switch, every couple of minutes, from the slowed-down, dark death metal phase to the massive post-rock and post/atmospheric hardcore moments, in such a way that those polarized aesthetics don't touch or blend, acting as antagonists that serve the same cause, complementing and completing, like the Yin and Young in the same circle. Like fire and ice, or water and oil, these two main aesthetics don't mingle with each other, but rather remain piously separated, the seam being only the completion of one aesthetic and the initiation of the other.

In the end you get an album of extremes -- the menacing and the transcendental -- where only seldom do these mix, but when they do, they sound even more awe-inspiring and engrossing than when each was alone standing.

I like everything about this album; the soft singing, the growls, the thick and layered atmosphere, the melodies, the gentle moments as well as the brutish ones. _Sunless_ is death metal, but of a different kind. It's heavy as fuck and deadly, indeed, but it exhibits also a different face; immersive, volatile, exquisite and deep tranquility-inducing.

An original approach to the heavy side of music has yielded a sonic theatrical stage on which light and darkness play but rarely touch; a magical show of shadows and bright lights, where everything is possible when using the imagination. Megalithic but not monolithic, _Sunless_ is the voice of change, the thinking man's dark and heavy music for the 21st century; music for the dwellers of this reality wishing they were somewhere else.

If you're a death metal fan having a secret guilty pleasure of loving also the 'post' aspects of heavy music, _Sunless_ is where it all begins, and ends -- and happens...

Contact: https://vicisolumrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sunless

(article published 8/7/2015)

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