The past few years have been up and down for the genre of deathcore. With bands like THY ART IS MURDER and FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY breaking through and headlining venues with crowds of thousands, and old deathcore stalwarts such as SUICIDE SILENCE declining in popularity and ‘changing their sound’ to try and adapt, the place of bands such as OCEANO has been called into question. Recent releases such as 2015’s ‘Ascendants’ did not receive the same sort of attention that other deathcore releases like THY ART’s ‘Holy War’ received. However, for the Revelation album cycle, OCEANO have signed to mega-metalcore and deathcore label Sumerian Records, which is undoubtedly only beneficial for the band, as Sumerian have been responsible for some of metal’s most breakthrough releases in recent years.
Revelation itself does not appear to be ground-breaking at first glance. Half an hour long, ten tracks all of around 3 minutes each – they certainly aren’t going the same direction that THE ACACIA STRAIN went with their half-hour song Observer on 2014’s Coma Witch. However, where OCEANO have put the most thought in with this album is in the concept. Speaking to Sumerian, vocalist Adam Warren explains the concept – “All of the songs are the recollections of a separate being as he travels through a portal of alternate timeline…each track is another revelation that he’s viewed. ‘The Ascendants’ have been watching society grow and lightly influencing it but allowing humans free will for the most part. In turn, what they’ve seen is humanity basically deplete the planet to a near state of destruction. In these vignettes, they are deciding whether or not it’s worth their intervention and subsequent salvation. The traveller carries this message.”
Therefore, what OCEANO are essentially trying to get out with Revelation is an ecological message not dissimilar to other bands on the scene such as IN HEARTS WAKE, albeit under an interstellar, apocalyptic guise. In terms of the music itself, Revelation certainly delivers on this image. Crushing dissonance and the apocalyptic sounding lows of Warren, in combination with cosmic, terrifying ambient lead guitars create an oppressive, brutal soundscape on Revelation.
Highlights on the album come in songs such as Path to Extinction, with tight, fast breakdowns and Adam Warren’s crushingly low unclean vocals. The Great Tribulation and Human Harvest are both solid choices for singles, as The Great Tribulation is almost a minute longer than other songs on the album and Human Harvest ends in a slam that wouldn’t be out of place on an INGESTED track. Admittedly, the album does have its more generic moments in songs like Lucid Reality and Illusions Unravel which do not set themselves apart from any other track in OCEANO‘s discography, however in a genre like deathcore which has a generally formulaic sound, this is hard to avoid.
Overall, OCEANO‘s new release is not ground-breaking in the context of the genre of deathcore, however, for fans of the genre it is a solid listen. Warren’s vocals are some of the best around, contested only by those such as Phil Bozeman of WHITECHAPEL and CJ McMahon of THY ART IS MURDER. A strong effort for OCEANO, certainly enough to please current fans of the band, but perhaps not quite enough to draw in many new ones.
Revelation is out now via Sumerian Records.
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