The Ocean Pelagial

The Ocean Pelagial
8
Germany's the Ocean have never rested on their laurels throughout five albums that challenge subgenre tags. On album number six — which is meant to be played as one single "song" — these metal aquanauts chronicle a journey from the ocean's surface to its deepest depths. Though it doesn't exactly go from light acoustic compositions in shallow water to the pitch-black noise and extreme pressure of 20,000 leagues under the sea, Pelagial does manage to trace a memorable and gratifying sonic aesthetic from start to finish. Frontman Loïc Rossetti gives his best performance yet, varying his vocals from clean to harsh, often in the same song ("Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe"). Opener "Epipelagic" begins with lithe piano melodies, bleeding into orchestral strings and the Callisto-like crescendos of "Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny." Rossetti offers an impassioned clean passage with deft piano notes that morph into Dillinger Escape Plan-ed melodic lines in the darker "Bathyalpelagic I: Impasses," while the chimerical "Bathyalpelagic II: the Wish in Dreams" phases through the scream-y sections of 2006's Aeolian, linear Gojira measures and tribal Tool-isms. "Bathyalpelagic III: Disequillibrated" is doomy, peppered with black metal and Meshuggah-style chugs, while "Benthic: the Origin of Our Wishes" closes the album with deliberately sluggish steps in concrete shoes across the ocean floor. Since the album was originally intended to be instrumental, it's packaged with an instrumental second disc, which is mastered differently from the vocal disc. Few bands are as concerned about the listener's aural submergence more than the Ocean, and Pelagial stands as a testament to the long-player's transformational experience. (Metal Blade)