AN OCEAN OF VOID – The Great Escape
Atmospheric and progressive metal offers a multitude of directions for a group of musicians to explore – which is exactly what France’s An Ocean of Void put forth for their debut album "The Great Escape". The quartet look at everything from lush, Pink Floyd-ish space rock instrumentation to these deeper doom/death metal textures, meaning one minute on an epic like "Enigma" at 8:49 you could hear David Gilmour-like sparse lead work and then move into growls against a progressive, off-tempo odyssey that makes you think Isis meets Katatonia in a Ghost Brigade park.
Whispering vocals for "Silent Storm" only remain brief as Floran Guillou rears back for the paint belting growl/scream combo to up the intensity a hundredfold – the musical arrangement contains slow twin guitars, keyboard accents of a 70’s variety, and a rhythm section that pounds home the slightly above resting heart beat tempo. It’s refreshing to hear a group of musicians go with their gut and instinctually let the feel and mood dictate transitions – rather than be overtly intricate and technical, because progressive music can be soothing and intellectual. "Behind Red Clouds" and "A Faded Light" are two of my favorites, locking into certain hooks and riffs and embellishing them with twists in the transitions or dropping off the heavy for an introspective, atmospheric section that keeps you engaged or on the edge of your seat with anticipation.
At 8 tracks and 50 minutes, "The Great Escape" lives up to its title: intoxicating and refreshing for successive playbacks. If you are bummed about Ghost Brigade being on an indefinite hiatus and love a more progressive version with Katatonia/Isis like elements, An Ocean of Void is a must hear and instant buy experience.