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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)