Monday, 3 April 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Oceanwake - "Earthen"

By: Ben Fitts

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/03/2017
Label: ViciSolum Productions


The result is forty-five minutes of meticulous songcraft and dramatically contrasting passages. “Earthen” is a journey through the duality of nature itself; it builds from a calm wind to a devastating hurricane, from a tranquil beach to a tsunami. Three albums into their career, Oceanwake is a band that has finally realized and executed the full expanse of their vision, and the result in breathtaking.

“Earthen” CD//DD track listing:  

1). A Storm Serpent
2). In Amidst the Silent Thrones

The Review:

The usage of classical element imagery in Oceanwake’s LP “Earthen” is appropriate; “Earthen” brews like a storm, rumbles like an earthquake and eventually crashes into you like a tidal wave. “Earthen” is the third full-length album from Oceanwake, a Finnish quartet who defy any sort of neat categorization (progressive post-death doom might the closest label one can invent for them, but even that fails to capture everything they encompass). While Oceanwake have always favored extreme song-lengths, they outdo themselves on “Earthen”, which consist of only two tracks: the twenty-one minute long “A Storm Sermon”, and the twenty-four minute long “In Amidst the Silent Thrones”.

As its name implies, “A Storm Sermon” is where “Earthen”’s most celestial energy lives. After a breezy, two and half minute build up, the album’s first crack of thunder is heard as Eero’s Haula’s growling vocals enter. When Haula arrives, so does the titular storm. The mood turns bleak and the patch of sunlight that shone through the track’s beginning struggles through thick, dissonant guitars and a voltaic sense of anxiety. The anxiety builds, even as the tracks tones soften, and cryptic clean vocals hijack  the melody. The celestial energy continues throughout the twenty-one minutes of “A Storm Sermon”, manifesting itself as gentle breezes in a chiming clean section, as brewing, distant thunder builds ups and finally as the very eye of the storm itself in the track’s unrelenting climax. But if “A Storm Sermon” is air, then “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” is water.

Everything about “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” is as massive as the ocean, from its quiet, beckoning moments to its most intense, pulverising riffs. The heavier of “Earthen”’s two tracks, “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” also begins with a sweet, somewhat understated passage. But while “A Storm Sermon” steadily builds until its full force is upon you, “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” gets there suddenly and mercilessly. And, just as quickly as the full-weight of the track’s heaviest moment is upon you, it fades back away, giving you time to  recuperate before it strikes again.

This coming-and-going of intensity has long been a calling card of Oceanwake’s music, but on “Earthen”, and particularly on “In Amidst the Silent Thrones”, the band perfects this trick. The result is forty-five minutes of meticulous songcraft and dramatically contrasting passages. “Earthen” is a journey through the duality of nature itself; it builds from a calm wind to a devastating hurricane, from a tranquil beach to a tsunami. Three albums into their career, Oceanwake is a band that has finally realized and executed the full expanse of their vision, and the result in breathtaking. 

“Earthen” is available here

Band info: facebook || official

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