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The Ocean and the Sun

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iTunes Review

The Ocean and the Sun is pretty much the work of the core Sound of Animals Fighting group members: Rich Balling (formerly Rx Bandits), Matt Embree (Rx Bandits), Anthony Green (Circa Survive), and Chris Tsagakis (Rx Bandits). The tightly focused line-up is certainly at least partly responsible for the consistent sound throughout this contemporary prog album recorded with few detours, distractions, or embellishments. Instead of the global music accents, spacey keyboards, and electronic flourishes found on their sophomore release, Tiger and the Duke, here TSOAF harken back to their earliest work, serving straight-up prog but with a more robust sheen: the album is dotted with outbursts of hardcore vocals and metallic guitar attacks, with mood-shifting time changes and percussion parts pinging between wrathful assaults and shimmering aural textures. Melodic meanderings turn quickly to sonic fury (“Cellophane,” “Another Leather Lung,” “…Heraldic Beak…”) and tracks with a more relaxed, transformative quality work to soothe the beast (“The Ocean and the Sun,” “I, the Swan”). “Blessings Be Yours Mister V” and “Uzbekistan” take a playful turn, coming up firmly on the art-rock side of the spectrum. Vocalist Anthony Green is in top form, his flexible voice expressing both daydreamy introspection and violent upheaval with apparent ease.

Customer Reviews

One of the top releases of the year; the perfect combination

The Sound of Animals Fighting have once again put out an album that is vastly different from their previous releases. They started with a progressive rock style, heavily influenced by post-hardcore, with The Tiger and the Duke. Next, they went completely experimental with Lover, the Lord Has Left Us... . It is only fitting that this album brings them balance, adopting a style that blends the best elements of both of their previous efforts. The Ocean and the Sun is probably their best album to date, and though it doesn't pack the same punch that The Tiger and the Duke had, it easily surpasses it in replay value and musical innovation. The Ocean and the Sun is structured in a way that makes the listener want to listen to the full album in one sitting. While it's not a cohesive song split into different tracks, it does follow a progressive musical style that allows each track to lead into the other effectively. The "Intro" brings back the lady who spoke in Lover, the Lord Has Left Us..., signifying their effort to bring back elements from their previous albums. "The Ocean and the Sun" is an ambient track that sets the tone for the forthcoming songs. "I, the Swan" was my personal favorite. Rich Balling provides the majority of the vocals, and the entire song is one crescendo until it climaxes with Anthony Green entering the fray: easily one of the most powerful moments of the entire album. Anthony Green returns for lead vocals in "Another Leather Lung", which is another crescendo of a song. For the fans of The Tiger and the Duke, Green belts his out his first screams of the album here, and they add to the intensity that builds throughout the entire composition. After another interlude, we get a taste of another one of the album's highlights: "Cellophane". Rich Balling provides the vocals here as well, and it again follows the structure laid out by the previous two songs: a crescendo. The end of this song is one of the most intense on the album, with Matt Embree bursting out with a guitar solo, accompanied by Anthony Green's screams. The song flows effortlessly into the most Tiger-and-the-Duke-esque track: "The Heraldic Beak of the Manufacturer". The drum and guitar work is absolutely amazing, and though the vocals seem dull at first, they grow on you after a while. There's another interlude, and then the most unique track follows, “Uzbekistan”, which features vocals by a woman, who I believe was on Lover... as well. This is actually my least favorite track, it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the songs, and I think that it's way too long, to the point where it distracts from the overall tone. A good song, but not the right one for this otherwise cohesive group of songs. Matt Embree makes his first appearance on lead vocals in “Blessings Be Yours Mister V”, one of the highlights of the album due to its incredible diversity. It starts off like an RX Bandits song, but the atmospheric sound, combined with the mini-solo and grand guitar solo at the end make it one hundred percent The Sound of Animals Fighting. After another interlude (by this point it really is too many), we get the album's closer in “On the Occasion of Wet Snow”, which is near perfect as and ending. It ties up everything, with a phenomenal guitar solo at the end. Overall, I think the album excels at so many levels. The vocals are fantastic. Anthony Green is on point, with a blend of his always-good singing and intense screaming. Rich Balling's deep vocal pitch complements Green. He really excels in the slower parts, and at 3:06 on “I, the Swan”, he is absolutely amazing: that was my favorite part of the entire album. Embree is a healthy balance of the two. All three are distinct in their own way, and fit well with one another. The instrumentals are great, Embree is back with his guitar, and he's shredding more than ever. Tsagisikas' drumming is phenomenal, and is probably going to be way underrated. If you're looking for the perfect blend of aggression shown by Tiger and the Duke, and the ambience of Lover, the Lord Has Left Us..., this is the perfect album for you. I won't say it's better than Tiger and the Duke, but collectively, it's an excellent release, and the replayibility of it is unmatched.

The Sound of Animals Owning

this album messes with your dreams. fall asleep with it and your mind will be opened. amazing album, one of the best of the year

yes, finally

Finally, a perfect representation of TSOAFs true talent. The album clings to its shifty guitar riffs and is more geared to those who enjoyed tiger and the duke. A++


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

For the purposes of mystique (and, one assumes, legal reasons due to the various participants owning recording contracts), the experimental noise rock collective the Sound of Animals Fighting appear in public only in cheap creepy cute children's Halloween masks with cartoon animals on them. Furthermore, the members of the band -- really more of an always shifting musical collective in the manner of Broken Social Scene -- are referred to only as the animals their masks represent. Therefore, their...
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