Oceans Ate Alaska – Lost Isles

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Making waves (see what I did there…) following two introductory EP on Density Records, talented quintet Oceans Ate Alaska, from Birmingham, England, are a schizophrenic psychotic tick in musical guise. Dubbing themselves as progressive metalcore seems to undersell and mislead, as Lost Isles (Fearless) showcases a high degree of technical proficiency, spurting spasming rhythms of meticulous, systematic precision and understated melodic britcore (yes, I’m using that phrase and with no apologies – British metalcore sounds different to its American counterpart).

As if adamant to prove that under the sea lives all manner of chaotic life form, within 43 seconds of opening track ‘Blood Brothers’ (we’ll ignore the inevitable, ubiquitous, unnecessary “intro” track) we’ve been treated to convulsion of rhythmic battery alongside vocal paroxysms that spit out three different styles, screamo, death metal growl and sung, over three different riffs, before the song lurches off-kilter into yet more spasmodic sections.

The process of bursts of rapid-fire arrhythmic violence continues throughout, seeking to cuff the brain into submission with unyielding sonic ruptures, a tech metal death by a thousand guitar stabs, before Oceans Ate Alaska open up their sound on ‘Vultures and Sharks’ and start to truly display the potential within.

There are inevitable comparisons to Bring Me The Horizon, mainly in that James Harrison’s sung tones and the melody lines used are not a million miles away from Oli Sykes, but Oceans… are a different beast; there’s added Meshuggah and spice to their stylings. Fellow scribe Chris Tippell coined them BMTH meets The Contortionist and his radar is as tight as the intermittent punch that permeates ‘Over The Edge’ on his tech-prog-core.

It can be difficult setting out to try and differentiate yourselves from others, and Oceans Ate Alaska perhaps push things too far in setting their stall in the kitchen-sink side of headfuck music, though they can take credit from the fact that not only are they ploughing their own furrow, but they have the technical chops and ear for melody to make it happen for themselves. Lost Isles is a sensory overload that will make an impression on the ears and minds of those who like their discordance delivered as a staccato premeditated cudgelling, while with tunes like ‘Downsides’ in their arsenal, the band have the breadth to push into more melodic and conventional streams.

So, now they’ve consumed Alaska, it’ll be very interesting to see what they fancy making for dessert…

 

7.5/10

Oceans Ate Alaska on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY

Prolong The Agony sign to In At The Deep End, announce EP & debut album

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Prestigious label In At The Deep End, who have been responsible for releasing breakthrough platters from acts such as SylosisFeed The Rhino, Suicide Silence and Gallows, have confirmed they have snapped up aggressive metalcore stars-in-waiting Prolong The Agony.

Hailing from Portsmouth, UK, the band have inked a deal with the influential label and are shaping up to release their debut EP All We Are on April 20, with a first full length to follow later in the year.

Frontman Larry Welling added: “Signing to IATDE is something we truly never expected and it’s humbling to say the least. To join a roster (past and present) that have had such an influential impact on the UK music scene, bands that we have personally grown up listening to, is a real honour and one that we’ll always be grateful for. We have huge respect for the way this label conducts itself and its long lasting reputation speaks for itself!”

Listing Parkway Drive and Of Mice & Men amongst their influences the Britcore metallers have paid their dues having wracked up thousands of miles on the road with such acts as Captain, No Captain Chunk!, Iwrestledabearonce, Crossfaith, and Glamour Of The Kill

Prolong The Agony - All We Are

All We Are tracklisting:

1. Dead Dreams
2. Counting The Days
3. Loved & Lost
4. Backstabbers
5. Loveless

 

Prolong The Agony on Facebook 

Malefice – Gravitas

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A few years back, Reading metallers Malefice were hailed as one of Britain’s greatest hopes to make waves; and with the patronage of some influential metal figures and a penchant for colossal grooves it was unsurprising. Fast forward to the present day and whilst some of their peers such as Sylosis and The Defiled have grown bigger and bigger, Malefice seemed to get left behind despite (or perhaps because of) their refusal to stagnate, their 2011 album Awaken The Tides (Metal Blade) especially being a slight curveball with a change of vocal delivery and a greater focus on melody.

Latest EP Gravitas is their first release since a brief hiatus that followed  2012’s Five (both Transcend) and finds them invigorated and back on full throttle. This is back to writing the same kind of grooves that once saw them spoken in the same breath as the likes of Devildriver, but at the same time is not just a back to basics effort. Throughout there are slight shades of a tech metal tone, reminiscent of Heart Of A Cowards straight for the throat usage, keeping towards pit fodder rather than prog drifting. Their ace once again proves to be vocalist Dale Butler who sounds as passionate and genuinely pissed off as ever.

This may only be a brief four track EP, but for a returning band this is a great statement of intent, and evidence that they could still have the bright future that perhaps eluded them to this day.

A soaring return to one of Britain’s true juggernauts.

8.0/10

Malefice on Facebook

 

CHRIS TIPPELL