Before They Were Cool – Precambrian


Band: The Ocean
Album: Precambrian
Label: Metal Blade Records
Released: November 5, 2007
Genre: Experimental Metal

Take a minute to step back and imagine. Imagine hundreds to thousands of millions of years ago. Earth’s largest geological time period and altogether mass formation of this planet. Then imagine a metal band that delivered the soundtrack of this era and think of the monstrous sound that would have to be created to reflect such a time. Well, fortunately for us, this album exists; a two disc release aptly named “Precambrian” by the Berlin based  metal band known as The Ocean.

Altogether, this album consisted of the combined effort of twenty-six musicians, which gave an incredibly diverse sound throughout. Both discs had their very own feel to them and ultimately had their own story to tell. I don’t necessarily mean a direct story, but musically each disc, whether taken on their own or together, weaved an incredibly great atmosphere and allowed for an escape into your own imagination. That is when you know music has been taken to it’s next level. When you can truly feel the essence the musicians were trying to develop with their playing/songwriting, you know something incredible has been done.

The great thing about this album is while it maintained huge diversity; containing elements of hardcore, punk, jazz, sludge and prog was that none of it felt at all choppy or out of place. The first disc slammed hard with outright intensity and a chaotic ambiance reminiscent of earlier Mastodon or Converge. Then ever so subtly it melded into the second discs more gentle and atmospheric sound layered with several instruments. While I dubbed it “gentle” there was still no lack of aggressive moments on the second disc. Everything was delivered in perfect amounts and allowed for spot on portions of intensity and relaxation. Nothing felt overdone and nothing felt lacking at any moment. The instrumentals were beautifully done and the pacing especially in “Statherian” was phenomenal. Around the 3:00 mark was one of the greatest build-ups I have heard musically in a while. The chugging it lead to and even further developing into the symphonic overture left me with chills.

This album had no lack of talent and musicianship. The sheer amount of methodical chaos created by odd time signatures and a blend of insanely varying musical elements all wound up together creating an absolute musical thrill. The complex riffing never got lost and was always held securely with equally technical drum patterns and rhythm sections. The bass held the rhythm when required and also wandered into it’s own realm at moments all while holding the musical layers together brilliantly. As mentioned before there was perfect amounts of everything on this album. Not only with the sound and feeling of the album, but also with the mixing. Nothing felt overbearing and no instrument ever felt overshadowed. Tonally each instrument was fantastic. Drums were tight, the bass was thick and felt boisterous, guitars were dominating in the chugging and smooth in the cleaner moments. The keys were beautiful and haunting  at moments notably the final song “Cryogenian.” Even lesser used instruments like the cello were layered in every so gracefully allowed for this entire album to construct an incredible level of imagery.

On top of all of this, there is still a cherry on top. The lyrics. Lyrics sometimes tend to get lost with me as I am a person who focuses more on the sound. I am not one to remember an entire songs worth of lyrics, but I will always find a level of appreciation with lyrics. This album is without a doubt an intellectual, lyrical buffet of parallelism and metaphors that are equally as complex as the music they are being served over. They create beautiful imagery of the era the music is aiming to be set in and draws on issues we face in our modern world with environmentalism and philosophies. Believe me when I say it is truly incredible.

This album is epic.

Overall: 10/10


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