...And Oceans

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The Dynamic Gallery Of Thoughts

And Oceans - The Dynamic Gallery Of Thoughts ©1998 Season of Mist
1. Trollfan
2. The Room Of Thousand Arts
3. Som öppna Böcker
4. Je Te Connais Beau Masque
5. Mikrobotic Fields/ Ur Aldrig Saga Och Sang
6. Samtal Med Tankar = Halo Of Words
7. September (När Hjärtat Blöder)
8. Kärsimyksien Vaaleat Kädet

In a nutshell, ...And Oceans is the band that should be garnering the attention that is currently being given Dimmu Borgir. ...And Oceans, a fairly new Finnish band, specializes in similarly styled symphonic black metal, often quite reminiscient to Stormblast. Essentially, ...And Ocean's sound is comprised of blurry, heavily distorted blazing guitars, a raspy vocalist who is not far off from Shagrath's style, and an ever-present serene keyboard underscoring the music and adding the melodic edge. While the keyboardist's style is simple, it is really effective as I keep finding myself humming along to his trinklings. The opening two tracks are just fantastic. Both "Trollfan" and "The Room of Thousand Arts" are good examples of how black metal and keyboards can work together to create very exceptional work. The album on a whole retains a constant vibe and atmosphere, an entirely consistent piece of work. It is the memorable songwriting that puts The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts into a higher echelon of music. While I occasionally wish the vocals varied a bit more from just the rasp (the high falsetto scream at the beginning of "Samtal med tankar = halo of words" doesn't count) or the guitars had just a little more clarity, this is an impressive album from one of the more creative and talented new bands to emerge in awhile. Dimmu Borgir fans are required to find this excellent album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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The Symmetry Of I / The Circle Of O

And Oceans - The Symmetry Of I / The Circle Of O ©1999 Season of Mist
CD one:
1. Mechanic Hippie
2. Aquarium Of Children - Ajatusten Merenpinta
3. The Black Vagabond And The Swan Of Two Heads
4. Salipsism
5. Baby Blue Doll - Merry GO Mind
6. Äcid Sex And Marble Teeth (You-phoria)
7. I Wish I Was Pregnant
8. Stained
CD two:
9. Injected With Silence
10. Cacophonous Ballet
11. Higher Levels Of Microbotic Fields
12. Playground
13. Mental Traffic
14. Molecules
15. Spasms
16. Chess

Originally I disliked this CD based on the fact that it sounded pretty muddled when listened through my car stereo speakers. Since there is a very busy undercurrent of blast-beat heavy percussion, my poor speakers just haven't handled The Symmetry of I at all, though the second bonus disc of The Circle of O has met with immediate car stereo approval. Not that this all matters. Naturally ...And Oceans has a lot of work to do to match or top last year's excellent The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts and overall The Symmetry of I doesn't quite engage me as much. Though the chaos of the guitars and blistering vocals are strong, the keyboard melodies aren't quite as gripping. But it's only a slight letdown. ...And Oceans is definitely replacing the likes of Dimmu Borgir for this sort of vicious symphonic black metal. The second disc, which is available as a limited edition digipack, is in the vein of ambient music and done quite well. It's almost as if the band realized the keyboards didn't play a prominent enough role in the first disc and gave keyboardist Anzhaar his own entire disc to play with. With the two disparate styles being separated into two discs, this gives the album a lot more strength. Rather than intersperse one CD with black metal and ambient, thus perhaps causing disjointedness, the listener can choose whether to listen to the ambient disc or the vicious disc. But getting back to the original point of this review, The Symmetry of I / The Circle of O is another above average from a highly creative band. Make sure you dig up the digipack two-CD version of this one.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1999

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War Vol. I (split W/ Bloodthorn)

And Oceans - War Vol. I (split W/ Bloodthorn) ©1999 Season of Mist
1. ...Ja Kylmä Vesi Nuolee Oksaa
2. 100 Meters Final (accelerate)
3. Flesh (GGFH Cover)
4. Breeding The Evil Inside (Bloodthorn Covers)
5. Spite
6. The End Offensive (War III)
7. Dead Men Don't Rape (GGFH Cover)
8. Kärsimyksien Vaaleat Kädet (...And Oceans Cover)

This is certainly an interesting concept for a split release. Seasons of Mist is taking two bands and giving them four tracks to work with. Two songs are new, one is a cover of some obscure band (in this case GGFH, which is a name I'm totally unfamiliar with) and a cover of the other band. In this first issuance, Seasons of Mist pairs up ...And Oceans, one of the more interesting bands to pop up in awhile, and Bloodthorn. As expected, ...And Oceans' four tracks are in the vein of last year's The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts, with just a touch more experimental weirdness. The band can whip out the most raging, high tempo black metal with the best of them, but their melodic and tastefully done keyboards give them an edge and a little more identity. As for Bloodthorn, I am a little less impressed with their inclusion. Generally the sound is similiar in intent to older Emperor with a lot of fluid leads and an attempt at a larger scale, symphonic feel. Bloodthorn also uses female vocals to a small extent, but it's not like it really adds a whole lot to what's going on. Their best track is the GGFH cover, "Dead Men Don't Rape", which is given a chilling and very dirty treatment. Seasons of Mist suggest on the back cover "Let the best one win!" I would say ...And Oceans just pinned Bloodthorn to the mat on this CD.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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...and Oceans - Morphogenesis ©2001 Nocturnal Music
1. Trollfan
2. September
3. Mikrobotik Fields
4. Som öppna böcker
5. Kärsimyksien vaaleat kädet
6. The Black Vagabond and the Swan of Two Heads
7. Äcid Sex and Marble Teeth
8. Sålipsism / Aquarium of Children

Morphogenesis (which actually capitalizes the O and reduces the leading "m" to a lesser role) is nothing more than ...And Ocean's demo Mare Liberum paired with some live tracks recorded in 1999. This compilation was rather obscure upon its release. In fact, when I first saw information about it on the internet, I initially thought it was a bootleg. However, it's slightly more than that. Not much more, though.

Mare Liberum offers up four tracks that fans probably first heard on the debut, The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts. The demo versions do not vary a whole lot form their final studio form. It stands to reason ...And Oceans worked out the songs to the point where there wasn't a whole lot of need to finesse them any further. "Trollfan", which is the song that got me curious about the band in the first place, is a career highlight. In fact, it's one of those melodic, keyboard-infused black metal songs that seems to justify a band's existence. Even on the demo, it's still a winner. I'm not entirely sure how much remastering took place from the original demo for this compact disc release, but the production is fairly solid for a demo. It's a bit hard to hear the differences between the demo and later studio versions.

The live tracks are listenable but relatively superfluous, as is the case with most live recordings.

Considering there's scant difference between the demo tracks and the later versions, it's hard to really recommend Morphogenesis. Perhaps if you're the type of music collector who enjoys showing your friends your ...And Oceans CDs as if they were precious family heirlooms, this is the album for you. But otherwise, this can be safely passed over for the other entries in the band's eclectic and often interesting career.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2010

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Allotropic/Metamorphic Genesis Of Dismorphism (A.M.G.O.D.)

And Oceans - Allotropic/Metamorphic Genesis Of Dismorphism (A.M.G.O.D.) ©2001 Century Media
1. Intelligence Is Sexy
2. White Synthetic Noise
3. Tears Have No Name
4. Espirit De Corps
5. Odious And Devious
6. Of Devilish Tongues
7. Postfuturistika
8. TBA In A Silver Box
9. New Model World

Despite the tongue twisting album title which immediately regales the band's third effort to acronymn status, Finland's ...And Oceans have kicked down the musical doors once again with their strongest album to date. This is one band that is obviously not content to rest on their collective bums and gather moss. Rather, they seem intent on building upon their existing sound with each release and making themselves more interesting as time goes on. Their previous two albums were both good in differing ways and A.M.G.O.D. appears to have taken the smooth, fluid nature of their debut and mixed it with the dense mindwarping elements of The Symmetry of I, The Circle of O, their second release. That helps make A.M.G.O.D. a more listenable album than its predecessor, while still retaining the edginess and inherent oddness of their music. The production this time around eliminates some of the conflicts the instruments had between each other on the last album, so there are no longer six different guys competing to occupy one tiny chunk of the sound. The keyboards range from electronica-styled sounds complete with machine-esque drum patterns to twinkling beeps and bops, giving their music a much more unique twinge than some of their other keyboard wanking contemporaries. The guitars are still a white dwarf dense wall of noise, but much more distinct than in the past. Vocalist Killstar (or K-2T4-S, as I last remember him being called) is still a rasping maniac, giving no heed to the idea that clean, melodic singing is even remotely necessary to create a memorable album.

Some of the finest moments on this album include "Tears Have No Name", which throws in a very grooving, straightforward rhythm, the symphonic edge of "White Synthetic Noise", the intense and relentless pounding of "Espirit de Corps" and the spooky grooves of "Of Devilish Tongues". To be honest, there isn't a clunker among the nine tracks and the album is a wonderful full-listen experience. ...And Oceans have truly impressed me in all three outings up to date and A.M.G.O.D. should elevate them to a much more prominent status in the extreme metal world.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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And Oceans - Cypher ©2002 Century Media
1. Fragile: Pictures Of Silence: Melting The Skies
2. Picturesque: Cataclysm Savour: And The Little Things That Make Us Smile
3. Angelina: Chthonian Earth: Her Face Forms Worms
4. Halcyon: The Heavy Silence: In Silent Rain
5. Aphelion: Light Evanescence: Into Extinction
6. Opaque: The Morning I Woke Up Dead: Today Is The Day
7. Aphid: Devil Flower: Fruits Of Lunacy
8. Voyage: Lost Between Horizons: Eaten By The Distance
9. Catharsis: End Of Organisms: Absolute Purification Of Sins
10. Silhouette: In White Rooms: Vacant Bodies
11. Comatose: The World Amnesia: Planet Dead
12. Debris: Th Magenta Harvest: Liquid Flesh
13. Nail: An Odyssey In Flesh: Celebrate The New Skin

So this time around ...And Oceans chose to give us a very succienct, short title. Cypher indeed is a much easier album title to remember, but to balance out the band's proclivity for excessive wordiness, all the song titles are three part deluges of words. These Finnish boys are never going to make things entirely easy for their audience.

Cypher continues somewhat where last year's A.M.G.O.D. left off: a blend of clinical, industrial-tinged dark metal utilizing ambient and techno keyboard portraits. This album tends to remind me more of the band's second CD, The Symmetry of I, The Circle of O, in that the album is considerably dense and often the instruments seem to be fighting for the same sonic space. The keyboards, which should be a prominent feature of this band, occasionally sound like they're brawling with the guitars just to be heard. This of course requires the fervent listener to give the CD many spins simply to dig through the volumes of information the band throws around. Some of the songs sound as though the band is trying a bit too hard to create a monolith of sound, while others hit the mark spot on. On occasions where the guitars let up a tad, Cypher sounds like perhaps a 2002 version of Skinny Puppy's Rabies ("Voyage", for instance). On "Aphid" (we're not going to use entire song titles as there is only so much room on my server), the band actually sounds like 1999 Hypocrisy. In other passages of the album, the band reminds me of Skrew's debut. Fortunately, the band avoids an identity crisis by still retaining their signature sound that has survived four CDs and the slow musical growth they've experienced.

Overall, Cypher is a moderate step for the band, although at times it seems a sideways step rather than forward. ...And Oceans still deserves praise for daring to challenge themselves and their listeners with each new release. And unlike some the other industrial-tinged bands appearing these days, such as Ram-Zet, ...And Oceans' music retains a fluid song structuring rather than a collage of disparate influences all being crammed together. Cypher contains more than enough great moments to warrant recommendation, but it also suggests this band is still not at their creative peak. Better days should be coming for ...And Oceans.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2002

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