without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
…and Oceans was a band that was really special to me when I was in high school a decade ago. I discovered the band shortly after the release of The Symmetry of… and was captivated by their sound. The band was somewhat avant-garde in their themes, style, and sound, but without being pretensions and missing the mark like a lot of avant-garde metal bands are. There were luscious keyboards, but not in the silly Dimmu style, and plenty of black beats, but not overdone like many others.
I loved the band so much I painted their (old) logo onto my leather jacket, and carved the logo onto my acoustic guitar, both of which I still have an use, a decade on. All of their releases were routinely listened to, and I couldn’t find any fault with the band. Even with the release of AMGOD it quickly became a favorite of mine. They were moving in another direction, as was the case with each new release. It was an excellent mixture of electronic and third wave black metal, which was still at its root, metal.
Flashback to 2002 and the release of this catastrophic failure. I bought it upon its release and forced myself so hard to enjoy the album. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was let down by one of my favourite bands. That lasted only for a day or two, and then I came to terms with how much I hated it.
The sound is very cohesive, but it just sounds like so many other boring industrial outfits. The run on song titles feel thrown together, and the band just sounds burnt-out. There were a couple decent songs here and there, but I haven’t listened to it in so long that I don’t remember what they are. …and the artwork, come on. That was one of the great things about their albums, this looks like some crappy EBM band, and it’s not far off.
All good things must come to an end, and I still respect them for trying something new, which is why I'm not giving them a 0.
I can understand why some people enjoy this album, but to me it still remains to be the single most disappointing album I have ever purchased. They should have changed their name with the release of this, it’s not …aO, and it’s not metal. They changed their name from Festerday when they stopped playing death metal, and this could very well been the first Havoc Unit album.
...And Oceans, now known as Havoc Unit, was a black metal/industrial metal band from Finland. They released five albums under the ...And Oceans moniker. This album, Cypher, was their 5th and final release before changing to the name Havoc Unit. With this album what you get is pretty much an even amount of black metal and industrial metal. You get black metal vocals and the normal black metal drumming, which is usually blast beats for people that dont know. Then you get industrial guitar riffs and the weird industrial like sound effects.
I'll start with the vocals because they are probably the best thing about this album. The vocal style used on this album is kind of hard to explain. The vocalist (I think his name is Kenny, but I'm not sure) uses a mix of the normal black metal rasp and some kind of weird screech. The best example of the screeching vocals is on Debris: The Magenta Harvest: Liquid Flesh. I can't say "well if you like so and so you will like ...And Oceans vocalist" because he is very unique. He has his own style that no other band that I've heard has ever really done before. As for the regular black metal vocals, they're good, but a little bit weak. Its more of a shout than a scream really. It doesn't really bring the album down at all.
As for all the instruments, they are all really easy to describe. Either they're going fast or they're going really slow. Not slow in a doom sense, but boring slow. Thats what brings the album down a little bit for me. When you have the blast beats and fast industrial like riffs all in your face at once its very interesting and sounds great, but when they all start to slow down (once again I point out Debris: The Magenta Harvest: Liquid Flesh) it all gets pretty boring. Some songs like Picturesque: Cataclysm Saviour: And the Little Things That Make Us Smile are pretty much fast and really good throughout, but some songs that have you completed paying attention and that you're interested in, sometimes those songs slow down from the madness of the instruments and kind of lose you.
All in all this album is really good. This is more interesting than the crap that The Kovenant has been putting out lately and its pretty much the same style. If you like black metal or industrial you will most likely be interested in this album. Just be prepared to be a tiny bit dissapointed. Other than when the album slows up, its a really good album and if it wasnt for that fact, this probably would've gotten a 4.5 at least. For the best work by this band, check out The Symmetry of I - The Circle of O.
The curiously named ...And Oceans was one of the better kept secrets of the underground, combining Black, Death, Grind & Industrial into an incredibly cohesive and surprisingly well done avant-garde sound.
The production is pretty good but could have been better. The guitars are heavy, fast and abstract. There are no leads or solos present but the music is strange enough that it’s alright. The bass more or less does what the guitars do adding to the already insanely odd music.
The drums are perhaps the main metallic aspect as they stay truer to the standard style(s) mentioned above all the while keeping things interesting. The keyboards add the atmosphere and noise to the chaotic genius that is on display here.
The vocals are in the standard Modern Black Metal field with some semi spoken parts and vocal effects used here and there. The lyrics are the bands usual fare of weird poetry.
Over all, this album is best described as a happy darkness. It’s evil and sinister yet bouncy and fun. There is a lot going on here but this album isn't as layered as you would think. This is very original and worth checking out if you’re in the market for something really different.
Of all Finnish metal bands ... and Oceans must have been the most atypical. Though their roots lie with Stormblast-era Dimmu Borgir, this band quickly deviated from standard Black Metal, with the use of industrial or electronical samples in their music, not unlike Samael but not like them either. At last, they escaped from the cage that was ...and Oceans, and started anew as Havoc Unit. This review discusses ...and Oceans' last offering, Cypher.
Cypher is, clear to anyone's hearing, an album from a band that doesn't like to sit safe with their musical ideas. From the beginning it already sounds damn refreshing, with the immensely tight opener Fragile. ...and Oceans crafts compact Black Metal on this offering, with raw yet calculated guitar-centred work and thriving rhythms. The production works to their advantage, with a digital sounding, but not flat buzz for the guitars, and plenty of room left for a punchy double bass.
This album differs from its excellent predecessor AM GOD in many ways, though the core aesthetics of the music remain the same. Songs have become a tad more compact, lessening the Black Metal influences of lengthy nuancing to place more emphasis on the dynamics of the industrial feel. The keyboards are also abundant here, mostly techno-electronics meshing with the guitar work without eclipsing it, though sometimes adding all-important texture to songs (Debris). It is here that the band fails on occasion - the keyboard patterns can become so divergent from the riffing as to make both elements less than the sum of their parts, regrettably even less than the sum of themselves. It is that ramps the excellence of the album down in several places, making it a mixed bag - a mixed bodybag of human and robotic limbs - which sets it a couple of tiers below AM GOD.
...and Oceans is a band which continued to experiment throughout its existence, and quite understandably this can go too far for some. Heck, even they had enough. Songs like Voyage are but an electric guitar away from being labelled as Darkwave. However, one must understand that bands like these are necessary, for they display the vitality of metal, a raging quixotic beast perpetually rejuvenating itself through eclectic means. Cypher is thusly a recommendation for the open-minded extreme metal fan.
Favourite Cuts: Halcyon, Aphelion, Aphid, Voyage.
Sadly, this is really one of the only electronic metal bands I've ever heard. I've been listening to And Ocean's albums since their second demo. This tells you two things:
One - I like ...And Oceans.
Two - I don't like electronic bands. (because ...And Oceans is the only one I've ever gotten into)
Really though, And Oceans is so much more than electronic metal. They combine so many elements of black metal, and melodic death metal. I was loving them so much until they decided to become so much less progressive. I heard someone call them "technical" once, and I just about punched them in the face.
The new And Oceans is not technical at all. It just repeats so fucking much that it almost makes my ears bleed. Not just the music, but the vocals especially. How many times does he repeat the main phrase of the song, twenty times? Then what, he repeats this whole thing three times in total? That's like 60 times of just saying completely random retardedness.
While some of the riffs are ridiculously catchy, this album is just not worth checking out. It has some great songs, and the other songs that aren't so great have their moments, but in short; this album doesn't deserve the recognition that it deserves. (Best song = track nine)
But that's just me. I like more progressive types, not simple repeat the riff with vocals, go into a different part, repeat the first part, a solo, then back to the first part stuff. Save that shit for the mainstream.
• If you've read the last paragraph and agreed, please read on.
• If you're extremely pissed off at me bitching about the new style of this band, stop reading. I'm about to continue.
The music is just so damn boring. Really, I can't stand how anyone could take such boring riffs and think they're cool, then take them the way most normal modern rock bands take them. In truth, if the vocals weren't harsh, and the guitars were a little less heavier, this would easily be modern rock...or worse, ALTERNATIVE.
So if you're looking for the older nice ...And Oceans, look somewhere else. That band is gone. A new era of this electronic-black metal band has come to be, and I shall rebel against such band until it forces said band to return to the opposite of said new style, damnit.
With all of this said, the album is actually not that bad. I have a habit for making things sound worse than they really are...but take my word for it...it's not for you progressive fans.
Finland’s …and Oceans are as unique a band as they come. Playing what I can only call Techno-industrial death metal, CYPHER, the band’s fourth album, is a bizarre adventure into the realm of extreme metal.
Carrying on the sound from their 2001 album, A.M.G.O.D., CYPHER blends death metal riffs with industrial guitarwork with quirky keyboards and synth effects. Unlike their previous album, however, I find that the techno influences are less blatant, incorporated more fully into the metal. Some tracks like “Voyage” and is very heavily electronic, but surprisingly come out as interesting, catchy tunes. I should note here that each of the song titles on CYPHER is a tri-part vomitus of words. For example, the actual title of the song above is “Voyage: Lost Between Horizons: Eaten By The Distance.” Other songs, like “Comatose,” and “Angelina” Despite the verbose song titles and pseudo-intelligent lyrics, CYPHER still manages to be an interesting album.
While I cannot compare any band directly to …and Oceans, I hear touches of bands like newer Samael and Ram-Zet in their music, but even these comparisons do not match the sound of …and Oceans. The sound on this album, for the most part, is very tight. The rhythm on the album is held nicely by guitar duo known only as Pete and T and drummer Sami. Kenny, the vocalist, delivers with a rasping, growling style complementary to the music.
In all, I find CYPHER to be an interesting collaboration of styles that …and Oceans have formed into a more cohesive unit than A.M.G.O.D. The biggest fault that I find with the album, however, is that the songs start to sound the same and run together. With 13 tracks spanning 47 minutes, only a handful of songs really stand out. The final track, “Nail,” is the only song on the album that is bad. In fact, it is absolutely horrendous. Just what I needed: five minutes of electronic background noise with a bunch of screaming. This is an album that the listener will either love or hate; hence, I strongly suggest sampling the band first.
“Fragile: pictures of silence: melting the skies”
“Voyage: lost between horizons: eaten by the distance”
“Angelina: Chthonian earth: her face forms worms”
(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, December, 2002)
The vocals need help. Let me just say that, ok? You sounded good on the first and second albums, and pretty ok on Am God, but... not here. His semi-"Black" thing ain't workin out. The drumming feels right, and how the guitars fit, I don't know but they just kind of do. The keyboards don't really belong in metal in the way they were implemented, but when you all-out hear this album, they work.
The synths used in Chthonian Earth make it a song you could almost have sex while listening to, but in some songs like Fruits of Lunacy, they pretty much drown the music, but in a way that leaves the guitars. It creates a creepy but mellow feeling to it, compared to songs like And The Little Things, which are just pretty damn heavy compared to the rest of this, where the synths and industrial sound effects and all just modify it for a, once again, dark feeling.
The mentioned "dark" or "creepy" feeling drives alot of the music, and it remains like this- almost ravelike. True metal tracks are sparce, but it dosn't really matter because that wasn't really what this album was meant to be. Less heavy, you could almost compare this to... say an acoustic version of a song, or something. Not heavy, its another take on metal. But its less metal, more techno and metal combined.
No, this album dosn't NEARLY touch the masterpieces that were this bands first two, but its worthy to look into, especially if you're already into trance and rave, or whatever you would qualify these genres that were used to touch up the industrial show here. Otherwise its going to come off as very different- but always remember that different dosn't equal bad.
The commercial side of the industrial metal genre is in crisis. Whilst the harder more necro side is breaking boundaries and breaking blood vessels, the more “palatable” side of the genre is suffering from a mix of hero worship and laziness. Rather than explore pastures new, most industrial metal bands would rather rip off the holy trinity of Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein and Ministry, a situation made even worse by Gary Numans insistence on working with and thus bringing to wider attention the most cheesy and inept of these chancers.
That’s why I was very pleasantly surprised by Chthonian Earth by And Oceans (the tracks full name is Angelina:chtonian earth:her face forms worms, apparently long titles are what’s in the pretentious faux Goth sub culture). With its techno keyboard rhythm lines, its chugging but crushing guitars and its catchy verse and chorus, this was a song so danceable that you could even get Helloween fans busting moves to it.
Unfortunately, it is not representative of the album at all. True , the keyboards parts are inventive to a certain extent with the early 90s rave melody line halfway through lost between horizons being a personal favourite but everything else stank of black eyeliner clad cliché. The guitar riffs are either ripped off from Sehnucht by Rammstein or be watered down versions of commercial black metal riffs (and a watered down CoF riff is very watered down riff indeed)
An obscure golden rule of metal is “don’t sing like star wars characters”. This rule is ignored by vocalist K3nny (in pretentious faux goth culture , vowels are way uncool) who alternated between singing like a camp darth vader and a sexually excited Yoda.
Even worse are filler songs such as the morning I woke up dead, Why And oceans decided it was a good idea to include what sounds a jam session between Static X and Godhead whilst on ganja, on their cd, I don’t know. Nope actually I do know why, their derisive as fuck and going for a bigger audience. The kind of audience that think gravity kills were good.
Add in lyrics that good have been written by a 11 year old suffering from Ritalin withdrawal and what you have is a waste of £12.
And Oceans suffer from a problem that many bands suffer from.
The problem of being Goth but not being gothic, of being industrial with sounding like their from the bowels of industry.
Of being pretentious faux Goths really
...And Oceans have led a rather interesting career... they seem obsessed with throwing out the rule book and leaving fans confused. From their black metal debut, to 99's brilliant, electronica laced AMGOD, these guys have always been at the forefront of scandinavia's avant garde movement. Cypher is a completely new direction.... in fact it sounds nothing like their previous work and could easily pass for a different band entirely! Instead of melodic, techno-black metal, Cypher is grinding, cold, and industrialized.
Rammstein, Skinny Puppy, and even Fear Factory come to mind when I listen to this... alot of bleeps and sparse keyboard lines are layered throughout, giving the mechanized, driving songs an ethereal quality. The recent directions of peers Arcturus and the Kovenant were most likely an influence. ...And Oceans seem more devoted to the industrial cause, however, as songs like "Voyage, Lost Between the Horizons, Eaten By the Distance" (what a fucking mouthful!) are almost entirely electronic. There are shades of brutal death metal ("Absolute Purification of Sins") and their melodic past for good measure.
The vibe on Cypher is pretty much cold and bleak, perpetuated by vague keyboard washes and harsh vocals. I hear alot of Prong (!) in the straightforward tempo, but once again, Rammstein seems to be a chief reference point. My only complaint is the stupid fucking song titles... such as "Aphelion, Light Evanescence, Into Extinction", which serve only to irritate and interfere with track distinction. Talk about pretentious.
If you were a fan of And Ocean's previous work, or are into industrial at all, you might find alot in Cypher. Only open minds need apply, cos this is pretty hard to swallow