Consistency is the best word that can be used to describe a band like The Ocean. After releasing the critically acclaimed album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records) in 2018, the Germans come back with can possibly be a solid candidate for album of the year in Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records). And it’s just that this band keeps raising the musical and creative bars that are out there. They are not afraid to crush any musical barriers and do love to delve into unknown territories and as a result, they always come out on the winning end of it.
The album starts with the track ‘Triassic’, which marks a very important part of the musical and lyrically conceptual aspect of the album, finally being tied in with the last track of the album, ‘Holocene’. A similar scenario happens with the first single of the album ‘Jurassic | Cretaceous’ that ties in together eventually with the track ‘Eocene’. Now, I’m separating these tracks to give you an idea on how some of these songs are the pinpoint and the roadmap as to how the concept of the album resolves itself, but in all truth, it will be extremely difficult listening to any of these tracks separately, knowing what happens before and after the track is played. And it is that cohesiveness that has been such an important detail that makes a band like The Ocean being separated and on a completely different level than every other Heavy Metal band out there. They have non-stop creativity which results in mind-blowing musical experiences.
Musically, the combination of the drums by Paul Seidel and bass by Mattias Hagerstrand is just simply superb. The production of the overall album completely favors the rhythm section of the band, though Hagerstrand does get to stand out in the melodic aspect of the instrument, which I’m sure will make any bass player sit down and try to learn some of the epic bass lines that this album offers (this will be my assignment for the upcoming weeks!). The guitars by Robin Staps and David Ramis Åhfeldt are huge walls of sound that also bring some of the heaviest and catchiest riffs that The Ocean has had in any recording to date. Peter Voigtmann in the keys brings a whole new variety of layers into the band’s music that makes everything seem like one, long, enjoyable trip that you will need to relieve once the album is over. Now, I really don’t understand how Loïc Rossetti gets so much hate for his vocals. The vocal range and harmonic ideas he brings to the table for the different tracks are just as creative as you should expect from the singer of a band like this. His vocals really are what puts everything together and give it a more dramatic sense to the overall feeling of the tracks.
This is the album that we needed in 2020. A diverse journey into everything that is and composes The Ocean, truly one, if not the biggest musical inspiration out there. There is nothing that they cannot do. Call for catchy melodies, heavy riffs, black metal blast beats (Yes, listen to the second single ‘Oligocene’), and Phanerozoic II will have them all for you. In conclusion, to top this album this year will take a lot; if there is an album that is close to perfection is this one. And after listening to Phanerozoic II one thing is for certain: We cannot live in an Earth without The Ocean.