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…