Wednesday, November 25, 2015

CD Review: OCEAN CHIEF Universums Härd

OCEAN CHIEF
Universums Härd [“The Hearth of the Universe”]
I Hate Records
From the two tracks uploaded to I Hate’s Bandcamp:
http://ihate.bandcamp.com/album/universums-h-rd
Ocean Chief is a doom metal band from Sweden. They are heavy as hell; Slow, plodding, dark, and heavy, in the tradition of bands like early Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. There is even a little bit of St Vitus thrown in there, and a very clear Black Sabbath influence. 
The release starts out like a very slow burn, gradually increasing in volume until those massive buzzsaw guitars start cutting away at your ears. The drums are pounding, like a sledge hammer crushing your skull repeatedly. The vox remind me of like a darker 70’s classic rock band.  Really pin point, high quality stuff here. 
One thing that really jumps out at me is the bright, loud, powerful ride cymbal that just cuts through the mix like a knife. The drummer is really an excellent player and he chops up those slow heavy parts like a Japanese Hibachi chef. 
The song Urtiden is more up tempo, with the requisite tasteful, strong drumming and some interesting effects on the vocals. This one jumps out more than the title track, a 10 minute slow crawl through the mud that opens the release. Both songs feature exceptional song writing that could send a chill down your spine. These guys GET IT. They say more with less, make their point, and leave an impression on the listener. I also appreciate that their song titles are in their native tongue, further contributing to the arcane and mysterious vibe the band creates. 
Ocean Chief takes an oft used and abused concept of doom and adds a fresh originality to it, keeping you on your toes and accurately conveying a mood and an atmosphere that puts you right into the mindset of the musicians performing it.  Minimalist at its most complex, and a tortuous drag through the swamp at its simplest, Ocean Chief really takes you to a dark place.  I Hate records really has a gem here. 
Final Verdict: 
It is rare that I find something in the metal world lately that I am not totally scrutinizing and Ocean Chief’s Universums Hard is one release that is like a breath of fresh air. You people need to hear this, seriously, especially if you are into doom and slow heavy stuff. I look forward to hearing their future releases, and to see where this band takes their music to next. -Haniel Adhar
Track list:
1. Universums härd 10:18
2. Oändlighet 08:57
3. Färden 04:12
4. Urtiden 03:32
5. Frihet 02:22
6. Mörker 08:42
7. Vandringen 04:22

The short list:
Genre: Metal; Sub-genre: Doom Metal
For Fans of: Black Sabbath, heavy stoner doom
Production Value: Professional, clear, slightly raw
Musicianship: Moderate
Re-listen value: High
To Buy or Not to buy?:  BUY

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