09 Jun 2023 - Simon
Pelagic Records | Release date: 19 May 2023
The Post-Metal masters are back with the final part of their palaeontology-inspired album series. It’s a stunning and fitting full stop which greatly increases the intrigue as to where the band are going to go next.
I’m not going to lie to you, ever since I first heard the album Pelagial by The Ocean I knew I’d found a band that felt like they were making music specifically for me, it seemed to be hard-wired directly into the enjoyment-portion of my brain, and I couldn’t get enough, it was then, and still is, a masterpiece of an album. I tell you this as an admission I am going to try to be objective in my review, but I’ll probably fail as The Ocean are, in my mind, one of the best bands on the planet, still, onwards and upwards, let’s see what this new album is like, shall we?
I’ll admit this now, Holocene is an auditory masterpiece. Compared with previous albums, this one hues much closer to the electronic elements of their sound, which have always been an intricate and essential component of their DNA but this time, they’re much more prominent. The record effortlessly transports listeners to a realm of ethereal serenity. With each track, this musical voyage evokes a sense of tranquillity, sailing on calm soothing waters aboard board the good ship Melody. Holocene balances ambient textures, mesmerizing melodies, and thoughtful compositions without any problems, resulting in a sonic experience that is like an all encompassing musical duvet.
From the opening notes of “Preboreal” a sense of anticipation is built, creating a captivating introduction to The Ocean’s sonic world. As the album unfolds, the intricate layers of sound intertwine harmoniously, crafting a rich tapestry of emotions. The band’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in each delicate note, enveloping the listener in a cocoon of sublime beauty.
Holocene’s sonic palette is diverse and expansive, ranging from gentle, cascading piano melodies to lush waves of atmospheric synth all the way through to heavy, wall of sound breakdowns for which the band have rightly become famous. Tracks like “Sea of Reeds” and “Atlantic” effortlessly blend organic and electronic elements, creating a seamless fusion that is both comforting and adventurous. The Ocean once again demonstrate an incredible command over dynamics, gradually building tension and knowing exactly when to release it, with the impact of a meteor strike.
One of the album’s greatest strengths lies in its ability to evoke a deep emotional connection. Holocene’s melodies gently sway between melancholic introspection and uplifting hopefulness, intertwining with the listener’s own emotions. This delicate balance creates a very personal and introspective experience, where each individual listener finds their own solace and meaning in the compositions.
The record also demonstrates The Ocean’s growth as composers and producers. The arrangements are sophisticated and intricate, showcasing a refined sense of musicality. The attention to detail and nuanced production flourishes further enhance the listening experience, revealing layers of hidden textures with each subsequent play-through.
This is an album that demands and rewards attentive listening. It invites the listener to immerse themselves fully in its sonic landscape, rewarding them with hidden depths and subtle surprises. Each track is carefully crafted, and the album as a whole is a testament to The Ocean’s musical prowess.
In conclusion, Holocene is a captivating journey through a realm of ethereal beauty, where The Ocean’s sublime compositions transcend the ordinary and transport the listener to a place of pure serenity. It is an album that deserves to be savoured, contemplated, and cherished. The Ocean have crafted a transcendent musical experience that will resonate deeply not only with fans of their previous heavy music, but fans of ambient and atmospheric music too, and it firmly establishes their place among the genre’s most talented artists, not that I had any doubts at all really. Well, it looks like I failed to be overly objective, but with an album this good, you can’t really blame me!