The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

It’s been five years since Pelagial, the last album from German harsh progressives The Ocean. The quartet, again referring to themselves as The Ocean Collective and now with Mattias Hagerstrand on bass duties, is renowned for its prolific output as well as incendiary live shows, so the anticipation for eighth studio album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade Records) is huge.Continue reading

The Ocean Announce New Double Album, Due Later in 2018

Post-metal greats The Ocean have announced their new double album, their 8th, later this year from their own imprint Pelagic Records. Phanerozoic will come in two parts, over the next two years, and will be the follow up to 2013’s epic Pelagial. The band has stated that their recently reissued 2007 Precambrian is the reference point for the new music. Continue reading

The Ocean Streaming Previously Unreleased Track – “Turritopsis Dohrnii”

Pelagic Records will be releasing their In the Twilight, These Rocks Have Teeth compilation on September 29th. The first disc of the compilation showcases the labels post-rock offerings, while the second disc focuses on the heavy stuff they’ve released over the past eight years. One of those “heavy” tracks is an unreleased songk by The Ocean that is streaming online right now. Continue reading

Killswitch Engage – Incarnate

Killswitch Engage Incarnate Album cover ghostcultmag

Massachusetts metalcore legends, Killswitch Engage, are back with another solid release, Incarnate (Roadrunner). This is the second album released since Howard Jones left the group and original singer, Jesse Leach, stepped back into his vocal duties. While I will avoid the Jones vs. Leach debate, I will say that this work may be the most mature work from Leach-fronted Killswitch. The Westfield, MA natives continue to tinker with their sound to make the heavy, heavier and the melodic, more emotional and memorable, but do not stray too far away from what they know works. In no way would I call this an experimental album, but neither is it a safe one.

Killswitch Engage 2016

Incarnate is one of those albums that gets stronger the farther down you go. While some of the opening tracks are good songs, the second half of the album avoids the “more of the same” sentiments that I am sure many metalcore deserters would use. ‘Embrace the Journey…Upraised’ kicks off the second half of the album which showcases the Killswitch sound the best. Thunderous verse riffs with harsh vocals that lead into a hardcore pre-chorus followed by an uplifting, memorable chorus. The bridge/breakdown builds off of the pre-chorus parts to bring the track together. ‘It Falls on Me’ is one of the tracks that broke the mold a bit and borrowed some post-metal influences (The Ocean certainly came to mind, specifically the Pelagial album). The bridge of the track brings some of the ever emotional, yet catchy tremolo guitar work with a nice delay effect to create a spacey feel. The outro of the song reminds the listening that this is Killswitch Engage with a breakdown and harsh vocals to complete a very Jekyll and Hyde track. ‘We Carry On’ might be the best track written by the band since The End of Heartache era. This track brings together all of the elements present on Incarnate and then blend them together into one epic ballad. Heavy guitar riffs, catchy melodies, uplifting lyrics with both harsh and clean vocals, plus a little more of the spacey guitar effects seen on ‘It Falls on Me’ are all eloquently mixed. The closer, ‘Ascension’, is a return to the norm and wraps up the record perfectly. This is certainly the most “hardcore” track on the album and leaves the listener with Jesse Leach shouting “This is fair warning…your time… will… come!”


With so much music coming out the past couple of years, and mostly on the extreme side, it is always nice to return to the middle of the spectrum. Killswitch Engage once again has pulled me back to my youth with this release. My hometown heroes came through and then some on Incarnate.




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The Ocean, Live: at The Cockpit, Leeds UK

the ocean uk tour 2014



Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Due to issues with their van, The Ocean’s arrival to the venue is delayed. Having been travelling for 36 hours since their set at With Full Force festival one could forgive the German/Swiss outfit if they were less than one hundred percent.
After nearly an hour we are yet into the venue to be greeted by a set from local act Hieroglyph who boast ex-Fragments Of Faith singer Valentina Reptile in their ranks. Crammed onto the small stage the sextet belt out their dual vocal djent metal with gusto. Co-vocalist Mark Howes harsh growls provide contrast with Val’s Gothic diva presence. Numbers like ‘Parasitus’ still bare many hallmarks of acts like TesseracT but considering the group have been together only since December 2012 they show enough prowess to be considered ones to watch in the future.


Wasting no time the headliners take to the stage and launch into the title track of ‘Pelagial’. Bathed in blue light, any thoughts of tiredness are immediately forgotten as you are caught in the current of this all-consuming noise which blends post metal, jazz overtones and classical textures of mesmerizing effect.



The backdrop of visuals is certainly a key to the presentation, being connected so completely with the songs it accompanies, yet the five musicians onstage are hardly static particularly livewire vocalist Loic Rossetti who is hurling himself around the stage one moment then sat cross-legged on a monitor the next.


Creative hub Robin Staps nurtures shimmering harmonics and tidal waves of distortion from his instrument at will. His intense concentration reciprocated by the audience who are transfixed by his band’s every move. Playing your new opus in its entirety is a bold endeavour but one which is carried off with such masterful ease.

The encore sees the band sign off with ‘Origin Of The Species’ to an ecstatic response. They were up against it tonight, but like a force of nature they were unstoppable.


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