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.
WORDS: ROSS BAKER
PHOTOS: ECHOES IN THE WELL PHOTOGRAPHY