The Ocean Aeolian

The Ocean Aeolian
Deutsch septet the Ocean recorded Aeolian over the same year-and-a-half as 2004’s fluxion — January 2004 to July 2005 — though few of the orchestral passages or atmospherics that made fluXion a cut above the Isis rip-offs are present on Aeolian. "The City in the Sea” could be Josh Homme’s bastard metal son conceived during the sessions for Queens of the Stone Age’s 1998 debut, while "Dead Serious & Highly Professional” deftly tiptoes around the Dillinger Escape Plan. A triangle punctuates the frenetic "Swoon” along with a chorus of mermaids at the end, and the ante is raised further with "One with the Ocean,” a noodle-y death-metal romp with neck-snapping breakdowns. Coalesce’s Sean Ingram contributes guest vocals to the incensed "Queen of the Food Chain,” the album’s best track — and the year’s finest metal single to date — due to the blending of all of the Ocean’s strengths: majestic black-metal keys, industrial squeaks underneath the guitar riffs, long acoustic passages spotlighting drummer Torge Ließmann, and Ingram’s superiorly modulated growls. Fans expecting lots of fluXion-esque accoutrements won’t get nearly enough on Aeolian, though the Ocean have created an exceptional aggro-core album that will finally win them overwhelming lauds on this side of the pond.

Why are the dynamics of Aeolian so wildly different from fluXion? Guitarist/arranger Robin Staps: Actually, we wanted to release the whole recording project, which comprised all songs on fluXion and Aeolian — 115 minutes in total — as a double CD. That wasn’t possible at that time, for financial reasons, so we had to split up the songs. And after discussing it a lot, we finally decided to come up with two albums that would be different from one another: one focusing on our epic, orchestral side, and the other getting by without all the orchestral embellishments.

Why did you ask so many guest vocalists (Coalesce’s Ingram, Breach’s Tomas Hallbom, and Converge/Old Man Gloom’s Nate Newton) to contribute to the album? Looking back at fluXion, we wanted to have more vocal variety on the follow-up record (after we realised that we wouldn’t be able to release all songs as a double CD, we finished fluXion first and then went back to Aeolian). So we were trying out singers in Berlin and they basically all sucked, so at one point we just thought: why not ask some familiar voices if they wanna contribute? And that’s how it all started. (Metal Blade)