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Ocean, The - 'Fluxion'

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The Ocean - Fluxion

The Ocean - Fluxion

Metal Blade Records

The Bottom Line

Metal Blade reissues German avant garde metal ensemble’s crucial 2004 release Fluxion.
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Pros

  • One of the most cerebral bands on the planet in the midst of their crashing evolution.
  • Bombastic, fugue-laden and constantly inventive.
  • Germany’s extroverted equivalent of Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan.

Cons

  • So good it makes you wonder if The Ocean held back a tad on their subsequent albums.

Description

  • Released August 4, 2009 on Metal Blade Records.
  • Reissue of The Ocean’s third album.
  • Recorded in the same session as the band’s fourth release Aeolian.
  • Masterminded by guitarist/sampler/arranger/songwriter Robin Staps.

Guide Review - Ocean, The - 'Fluxion'

“Oceanland” is where you’ll find Robin Staps and his revolving cast of house players. When called into summit in their underground habit beneath a former World War II aluminum factory, they comprise The Ocean (fka The Ocean Collective), one of the world’s most daring experimental metal units on the scene today. Courtesy of Metal Blade Records, who hosted The Ocean’s past two endeavors, comes their transcendental sludgeterpiece Fluxion.

If you glance at Fluxion’s original aquamarine artwork, it’d be nearly impossible not to conjure up Isis’ Oceanic, which Fluxion tributes in certain fashion. Most of the time, however, The Ocean seeks apposite channels of sedation to undermine their volatile aggression, using the string elements of the title track as example, which coax the composition’s coarse abrasions into a rhythmic pulse. Ditto for the out-of-nowhere flamenco grooves checking the brutish death tolls and Mike Pilat’s grievous yelling on “Equinox.”

While released in 2004, Fluxion yields some of the genre’s most towering riff structures ever crammed into confident manacles barely able to contain them. “Dead On the Whole” had to have shaken Oceanland to its core when originally recorded, even as the opening bars of “Nazca” are enough to split the earth wide open, much less proverbially part the sea. The fused orchestral and synthesized textures elevate “Nazca’s” potentially unhinged detonations into stratospheric claps of focused antagonism.

While the expansive “Isla del Sol” and “The Greatest Bane” serve as preview to what Staps and The Ocean would attempt on future work, undoubtedly Fluxion—recorded in the same fell swoop as their subsequent album Aeolian—is a shattering display of progressive din mastered so quickly in a rapidly-evolving career. Fluxion is where Mastodon was between Remission and Leviathan: simply brilliant.

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