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Label: ViciSolum / Release Date: 13th March 2015
Oceanwake is a Finnish quintet which has its origins back in the year 2009 (making the band as a whole seven years old, for those of you too lazy to count). In that time they have released two full-length releases, the latter of which is what I will be rambling on about today. Now, prior to graciously receiving Sunless from Bato, I had never even heard about the mostly Doom Metal Finnish act. That is something that I am going to revise post-haste, however. Sunless contains, in theory at least, four tracks, adding up to a running total roughly equalling forty-three and a half minutes. I say in theory because, like any other good band whose main focus is involvement and undivided intensity of atmosphere (which Doom Metal bands in particular are very good at), they have made damn sure that one track will flow into the next, almost completely seamless. The most noticeable (and only) exception to this is ”Ephemeral”, which has a small break before beginning, as if to mark the inevitable end of the album. The other three tracks creak their way out of the loudspeakers in one slow, relentless and deeply intense manner, neither gaining nor losing momentum as they go along. I can only compare their music favourably to that of Who Dies in Siberian Slush (perhaps my all time favourite Doom Metal band) and Ahab, since these five Fins have managed to create their own, but every bit as potent, take on the genre. The instruments are pretty much as you would expect them to be, for the most part at least: Slow, heavily distorted and massively vibrating, giving the band a very resonant yet hollow sound; One that goes well with the almost haunting deep and menacing growls produced by the lead singer. What truly makes Oceanwake stand out from the two before-mentioned genre kinsmen however, is their occasional shift in musical style (even away from what is normally found within this genre): The guitar shifts to a clear, non-distorted sound (but still resonant), and is accompanied solely by the bas guitar, while everything else falls silent. This does not, as mentioned earlier, mean that the band neither loses nor gains momentum or even intensity; It merely takes on a different, more melancholic form for a short span of time. While it did throw be aback the first time I came across it, I quickly learned to embrace it and see how and why it helped the flow of the album as a whole. As is the case with all records of this type I would recommend to listen to it from start to finish while allowing yourself the time to sit down and completely immerse yourself within the musical world produced by Oceanwake. If, however, you are either short of time or merely feel like a teaser before buying the record, the track ”Ephemeral” can be found below. In my opinion, it is the song from the album that is the best suited to stand alone.
Definitely one of the best albums that I have had the pleasure of receiving in a very long time, and one that I would recommend to any Funeral Doom Metal fan as well as any who, like me, have a melancholic streak. Just make sure to give yourself time to sit down and give it your full attention.