Formed in 2006, Illinois Deathcore heavyweights Oceano are no rookies to the realm of groove fuelled brutality commonly associated with a plethora of their contemporaries and with the band’s fifth studio album ‘Revelation’, Oceano have melded the ravishing musical stylings of their earlier discography with a celestial and hellish soundscape that fans are sure to appreciate.
The first track, ‘Dark Prophecy’ opens with a succinct, ominous and reverberating dual guitar/synth passageway before combusting almost immediately into an assault of chromatic grooves that follow the melodic framework laid out by the atmospheric foundations of that introduce the track. As the track reaches its closing moments, otherworldly synth pads reminiscent of Industrial Metal acts such as Fear Factory hint towards a new auditory territory that announces its macabre presence throughout the entire 30-minute runtime of the album.
The first two tracks function not only to familiarize the listener with the sonic fundamentals of the album but also with the Lovecraftian, post-apocalyptic lyrical musings of front man Adam Warren as he illustrates the horrors of an Earth laid to waste by the collective failings of humanity from the point of view of “Ascendants” who look down on humankind with pity and disgust.
Opening with a moody and atonal chordal arpeggio, “Path to Extinction” progresses through an array of chugging grooves before settling upon a syncopated rhythm that is evocative of the combination of unsettling atmospheres and djenty, palm-muted picking patterns popularised by bands such as Vildhjarta and Uneven Structure. Following on from this engaging section of the piece, the band slam into a tempo change that leads into a devastating breakdown, emblematic of the sound that Oceano is most suitably known for. As a result of the slow, brooding nature of this breakdown similarities can be drawn between bands such as Black Tongue and the more crushing, Doom laden stylistic choices that are made by the band in relation to the breakdowns that occur throughout this release.
Although the album opens strongly with the first three tracks, the midsection of the album has an unfortunate tendency to become slightly repetitive and forgettable in comparison to the opening and closing tracks of the release. Fortunately, this trend is quickly revoked as the sixth track, “Majestic 12” provides listeners with a pummelling, Meshuggah’esque extended-range riff before evolving into a range of equally captivating sections until leading into a memorable and melodic yet short guitar solo which really stands out as one of the few moments of upper-fretboard wizardry that I wish was more present throughout the entirety of the album.
The seventh track, “Final Form” provides the listener with a brief and instrumental break from Warren’s guttural offerings on the album. This track follows in the footsteps of “Majestic 12” by introducing some less atonal moments that repeat throughout the tracks two-and-a-half-minute runtime. It is in my opinion, this track in which the celestial synth elements of the album truly combine with the rest of the instruments in a way that is most engaging and effective both musically and production wise.
Of the last three tracks on the ten-track album, “Human Harvest” is in my opinion the most enjoyable. This track features all of the hallmarks that distinguish this album from Oceano’s previous releases. Within the first sixty seconds of the piece, another guitar solo similar to the one heard on “Majestic 12” can be found which adds a new layer of variation to the crushing moments that underpin the rest of the track. Furthermore, the closing breakdown of the track is supported by the haunting presence of a ghostly mallet instrument which provides a unique element of melody and atmosphere to the track before its dying seconds.
In conclusion, ‘Revelation’ is a highly enjoyable and solid release that fans of the Oceano are certain to appreciate. The album strikes a satisfying balance between the brutality of earlier releases whilst providing an esoteric and mystical atmosphere that assists the band in remaining relevant within an arguably oversaturated scene.
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