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Album Review

In the credits for Aeolian, the Ocean breaks the extreme vocals down into seven different categories, which include "deep bellowing," "meaty howls," "high-pitched shrieking," "Scandinavian hollering," and "raucous vociferation." Those who are heavily into extreme metal will get a kick out of reading those credits because extreme metal — be it death metal, black metal, or metalcore — does, in fact, offer a variety of extreme vocal styles that range from bellowing to shrieking. And on Aeolian, different vocal styles become effective weapons in the Ocean's war of vicious sensory assault. This CD is not for the faint of heart; mixing metalcore with elements of death metal, the Ocean provides ultra-dense, suffocating, ferocious material that leaves the listener feeling drained and beaten senseless. Aeolian is exhausting, which is exactly what the Ocean had in mind. Although deep, guttural, death metal-style growling is a high priority on Aeolian, this album is not straight-ahead death metal. Metalcore-style screaming is equally prominent, and some occasional black metal-ish rasping and shrieking can be heard as well. A few times, the Ocean shows some mercy and offers some brief melodic passages (which draw on medieval music and European folk). But most of the time, Aeolian is unrelenting in its head-kicking savagery. There is no shortage of 21st century bands that sound a lot like the Ocean, but one thing that separates Aeolian from many similar efforts is the aquatic themes and images. However, Aeolian's primary goal isn't craftsmanship or intricacy — it is providing harshness for the sake of harshness — and despite being a bit uneven and inconsistent, Aeolian is a generally decent listen if one isn't afraid of being musically pummeled, stomped, and kicked repeatedly.


Formed: 2000 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Originally known as the Ocean Collective, before shortening their name to the Ocean, this forward-thinking ensemble from Berlin, Germany, was founded in early 2000 by guitarist Robin Staps, who soon surrounded himself with fellow guitarist Andreas Hillebrand, bassist Jonathan Heine, drummer Torge Liessmann, percussionist Gerd Kornmann, and a variety of individually specialized vocalists, including Nico Webers, Sean Ingram, Nate Newton, Thomas Hallbom, and Carsten Albrecht. Inspired in part by the...
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Aeolian, The Ocean
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