Review – Oceano: Incisions

By -
  • Bio: "Part of the First Wave of American Deathcore, OCEANO burst forth onto the scene with the release of 2009’s Depths, a pure and pummeling debut from the Chicago, IL quintet."- Press release
  • Label: Century Media Records
  • Release Date: October 1st, 2013
  • Genre: Deathcpre
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Oceano may have stumbled in 2010 with the release of their sub-par follow-up, Contagion. Other than some extensive touring, we haven’t heard anything new from the group other than a new studio demo track they slapped onto Youtube earlier this year. Now, about three years later, Century Media Records and Earache Records present their third full-length, Incisions. With a great deal of buzz in the Deathcore community, it’s obvious that this is an important effort for the band, a chance to reclaim some of the fans they may have lost with their previous outing. But, is Incisions unique enough to stand out among the flood of one-chord breakdown driven groups, or is this just further progression towards being lost in a sea of impossible to read Oceanos?

Much of Incisions starts off like a typical modern Deathcore album with single chord breakdowns. “Eternal Wasteland” starts off with a somewhat energetic groove with enthusiastic deeper shouting and rasps. About half way through, things tighten up, making the experience a little more powerful. Even the vocals become more guttural, creating a Brutal Death Metal passage without immediately going into pig squeals. “Slow Murder” isn’t as enthusiastic, especially during the breakdowns, though some additional effects of a cocking gun are included that are cheesy, distant, and distracting. “Blasphemous Mask” has a few heavier passages a little more than two minutes in, but overall it ends up a typical Deathcore track with chugging riffs and simpler breakdowns. While not bad, it doesn’t really stand out. “The Reclaimation” shows the band treading more into a Hardcore approach here and there, all the while playing with some really thing music that sounds lifeless, as if the band doesn’t even want to be recording it other than to have one more song on the release.

But, by the time you reach “Slave of Corporotocracy,” things definitely change. This is a violent assault of brutality, often treading into faster speeds that are complimented by some complex guitar work. Even some of the breakdowns here sound good, which is largely due to the tighter drumming and blistering bass kicks that appear. Towards the end, however, things do end up a bit on the typical side, losing some of the steam and rage Oceano had presented earlier. This is easily one of the best tracks the album offers, but its far from the last. “Disservance” actually rivals the intensity of this track by weaving more of a Progressive Death Metal instrumental that offers far more conclusion to the release than “The Reclaimation” does. The mixture of deep, ominous music that heads into some emotional melodic hooks about half way through leaves a nice lasting impression of the potential the band carries, and sums up the latter half of the album’s diversity perfectly.

“New Age Apophis” uses some atmospheric riffs during a later breakdown, which does throw back to the material on Depths, and it sounds great against the final breakdown, even wraps the track up nicely. The song itself, however, is mostly a chugging pace. While nothing too amazing, the darker tone of the performance does cause a little more tension that feeds into the twisted performance of “Embrace Nothingness.” The trudging pace with additional raspy vocals works well with the crushing pace, as well as haunting guitar solo about half way through, shows great promise for Oceano if they ever wanted to head into the Doom Metal field, reminding fans of the style of My Dying Bride. “Incisions” throws a little melody your way, giving the chorus and closing a grim and bleak atmosphere that is impossible to not bang your head along to. Some of the chords even show a bit of a Black Metal touch akin to slower Darkthrone, and even have a hit of frostbite to them, such as around the two minute mark.

OceanoIf Contagion could be considered general Deathcore pandering, Incisions shows Oceano throwing their nose up to the stereotypical expectations of the style today. This album has a good deal of variety to it that shows a group looking to break free of the restrictions imposed on them, all while not trying to alienate their current fanbase. Solid Death Metal performances, hints of melody, strong atmospheres, even some crushing Doom Metal and frostbitten Black Metal influences, all creating an album that explores the possibilities of the potential these guys have, and it sounds great. Yes, there’s some typical Deathcore performances and one too many one-chord breakdowns that hold it back, but what ends up on display as a whole assures the listener that, over time, we may see a completely different, and possibly even stronger side of Oceano.

OceanoDigital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.
Initial Pressing Score: /10