OCEAN OF GRIEF – Pale Existence

OCEAN OF GRIEF – Pale Existence


BAND URL: https://oceanofgrief.bandcamp.com/

The progressive doom/death metal sextet Ocean Of Grief consisting of Charalabos Oikonomopoulos (2014-vocals), Filippos Koliopanos (2014-guitars), Aris Nikoleris (2014-keyboards), Giannis Koskinas (2014-bass), Thomas Motsios (2014-drums) and Dimitra Zarkadoula (2015-guitars) provide a slight departure from my recent melodic death metal binge with their second (after “Nightfall’s Lament”²⁰¹⁸ on Rain Without End Records) full length “Pale Existence” which makes me think Agalloch’s “The Mantle” when I look at the cover, although stylistically the Greeks are closer to the Peaceville, and not just the legendary Trinity (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost) but also Katatonia and Opeth in addition to the more modern genre purveyors like Swallow The Sun or Officium Triste, although plenty of melodeath departures in the vein of Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum or In Mourning make this a varied, on one hand, and difficult to digest, on the other, affair. To the good are the fantastic melodies in the two highlights “Unspoken Actions” and “Imprisoned Between Worlds” which are almost perfect in their constitution while making the last few Opeth albums instantly forgettable in comparison. To the bad are the constant changes between very dynamic and intense or extreme to instantly somber, bleak and acoustic, sometimes at the cost of the paintakingly built up momentum. At times, I wish the guys would just let it rip for a while for some lasting death metal or stay with the melody but progression akin to the first three Opeth albums (especially “My Arms, Your Hearse”) is the name of the game here best evidenced by the fantastic closer “Undeserving”.

So why 5/6 with the aforementioned gripes? Well, for starters, this is the second album from a 9 year old band so we can’t expect a masterpiece of epic proportions anymore than we’d expected of Opeth (which we finally did get on the 4th, “Still Life”) and room for improvement bodes very well for the future. Secondly, there is not a bad track here undeserving (no pun intended) at least a 5/6 each, with such rich tapestry of melody and a cold hopeless yet romantic atmosphere that giving “Pale Existence” less than a 5/6 seems almost like a crime. So be it, then, but I will be harsher if things don’t improve concerning tighter, more cohesive songwriting on album number three.

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