събота, 19 юли 2014 г.

Ocean Chief - Universums härd (2014)



Ocean Chief are among the strangest 'sludge' bands that my ears have encountered and I mean it all in a good way. When you hear the name you might as well delude yourself that they have something to do with the post rock/sludge style of metal that's been popular recently, something in the likes of later Tombs, but no. They hammer on in a more primal, refusing to be sophisticated kind of way and the raw energy that erupts from the record won't miss burying in its lava anyone listening to it. 

The first song powers off in a very Melvins kind of a way, contains a lot of vocals (unlike most other songs) and although the guitar hammers decently enough to call Ocean Chief above average, I think the instrumental songs that follow bear more pride and are definitely among the more interesting work of the band. It works for them to build on guitar solos and riffs without the music becoming too impersonal or boring. What I personally dig most is the way the band never fails to sound grim. It's the more nihilistic, doom kind of sludge rather than something hardcore.

If you love Melvins's Bullhead you would instantly hear the King Buzzo manner of raging and blurting. It can be felt in the first song more than anywhere else later on. The whole record sounds like a massive black whole that's going to suck you in its gravity in any moment. What's best, the solo guitar is present at so many times, you won't feel like listening to something deprived of character.

What could've been improved in my opinion, is the audibility of some of the instruments, the bass is barely there, the drumming could've been stronger. Singing in Swedish will probably leave you clueless like me about what's going on in the lyrics. The production is good as it preserves the raw energy of the band. May I be excused as I am not an expert in mixing but I think there's something missing there as at times I hear the instruments like a bowl of soup instead of pieces lined as to stand out. 


Generally I'd say Universums härd is a good record to relax to on a grim day. Intelligent without being pretentious post rock shite. 

You can give it an ear here: http://ihate.bandcamp.com/album/universums-h-rd

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