In lieu of releasing a full-length album in one fell swoop, Oceans instead decided to divide their eight tracks into a pair of EPs – one released in early 2022 and the other six months later. That second mini-record – Hell Is Where The Heart Is: Longing (Nuclear Blast) – features four straightforward post-metal compositions, and follows the trail blazed by, Hell Is Where The Heart Is: Love.
The Longing EP is unabashedly steeped in melancholy and hopelessness, charting a course of uncertainty and at times a longing for a clear direction.
It’s not intricacies or complexities that allows this release to flourish; it’s the candid, upfront approach.
Timo Schwämmlein manages to keep his vocals reserved while also possessing a ruthless vigor that is too much to contain and finally rears its metallic, ferocious identity on standout track ‘Living=Dying.’ The development of a darker, more sinister tone is an apt technique as the lyrics grow bleaker and bleaker.
On ‘Home,’ the reality – either forced or desired – is expressed loud and clear: “We disengage from this human race.” And in doing so, the subjects become “sailors through time and space,” which can be interpreted either as a euphoria-tinged drug trip or a sense of panicked uncertainty about the present and the future.
Unsurprisingly, brighter days are not in fact on the horizon, as expressed on ‘I Want To Be Whole Again’: “Day after day, dark skies keep falling.”
But as previously mentioned, ‘Living=Dying’ is the cream of the crop. Schwämmlein’s frenetic, authoritative screams shocks the riff to life, adding weight to the rhythm section and the song overall. It’s a sizzling piece of metal and appropriately gives the vocalist (and the audience) an avenue to blow off that last remaining steam before waking up the next day and doing it all over again.
7 / 10