November 9th, 2010
Release length: 38:30
Instead of having music that gave a dark, and sometimes aquatic feeling to the music, leaving behind a great atmosphere on many tracks of the previous album, Contagion greets the listener with a very dull, slow paced Deathcore song full of simple, robotic Groove-like guitar work, as good a drumming performance as could go along with such guitar compositions, and some menacing layered vocals that go from shouting to gutteral to higher rhasp/wails with pig squeels thrown in at times, or some twisted combination of all four layered together to create a menacing, inhuman sound. For the most part though, it’s a gutteral vocal performance that stays in a mid-range. The music is comparable to practically any Deathcore act out there, taking clear inspiration from bands like Whitechapel and Job for a Cowboy, while exploring the insanely slow breakdown concept that many bands like Attilla and I Declare War have been slapping together, except with a little more effort to them, meaning they are slow with very little work put into them, using maybe one or two riffs and a simple drum beat that winds up holding the listener’s interest, sometimes utilizing a little too much silence and creating an awkward feeling to them. Even the guitar solos, which use to stand out, also sound weak and sometimes even go slower then the music itself, much like the track “The Contaminated”.
So, with an album that sounds like practically everything else in the Deathcore style, what could possibly be said that would shine a positive light on this release? Well, despite the many downfalls and obnoxiously slow and mechanical tracks on the album, such as the rocky opener “Precursor to Enslavement”, there are some faster paced tracks on this recording that do stand out as entertaining and well done for what the band brings to the table on this effort. “Viral Re-Animation” makes for a good song that has some faster paced music that doesn’t sound robotic in any sense, and shows a little more complexity in the guitars and drumming. “Quarantine” makes for a decent track as well, though nothing all that impressive. It, too, goes at a faster pace, though often switches abruptly to a slower pace. The vocals, however, simply become lame due to an attempt to get as low as possible fails at times int he song and instead just sounds like a failed pig squeel that is indecipherable and just silly.
The only track on here that really shows any spark of originality is the track “Exist in Confinement”, which is another slower paced song, but instead of resorting to the upfront technical robotic sound that has become the norm for Deathcore bands, those guitars are in the background and have more of a chugging approach to them, following more of a standard Death Metal pattern, having a rather haunting guitar solo that nicely reflects the darker atmosphere of the song, and instead of gutteral vocals, there is a spoken word performance that mixes nicely against all this, while keyboards play human sounding notes behind the vocalist for added effect. Honestly, this song would be the kind of material you would expect as an introduction or outro for some kind of Death Metal act, more then something you would hear on a Deathcore recording, especially one as shallow as this gets. Even the following “Persuasive Oppression” features some very impressive musicianship, leaving behind the robotic guitars again and forming some nice flowing chords that are enhanced by the faster drumming that actually has some texture to it and not simply playing to accompany slower, more pathetic chords. The breakdown, of course, is standard for the style, but even that feels like it has more energy behind it and can become enjoyable for how short it is. “Weaponized” manages to keeep the concept of these two songs alive, though the guitars, fast as they may be, still retain the standard Deathcore practices that started this album off, descending to a somewhat quick downhill sprint back to the mediocre song writing that appeared throughout the album.
Sadly, Contagion finds Oceano only being a shell of itself. The band had a unique approach to their music, and it’s evident on this release that those individuals who ar eno long with the band were the ones that kept the sound somewhat fresh and intimidating. This follow-up comes across as a lifeless idolworship album, much like any Deathcore band that is inspired by the aforementioned pioneers of the sound. While it does boast a few good tracks to it’s credit, the drumming doing its best to accommodate the simple beyond belief power chords, and the vocalist being the only part of the group, outside a few songs that stand out, that actually seems to show any real energy towards this effort the entire album, it’s as generic as Deathcore could possibly get, leading to a huge step down for the talented members of Oceano.
01. Precursor to Enslavement – 3:512
02. Viral Re-Animation – 3:22
03. Regulated Disposal of Life – 3:03
04. Quarantine – 3:25
05. The Contaminated – 4:16
06. Exist in Confinement – 4:17
07. Persuasive Oppression – 3:53
08. Weaponized – 2:47
09. Sadistic Experiments – 3:37
10. Remnants Aflame – 2:58
11. Endiung Intellect – 3:03
|Initial Pressing Score: 2.5/10