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Ocean's Edge > The Voyager > 2023, CD, Independent > Reviews > Edmund Sackbauer
Ocean's Edge - The Voyager

Ocean's Edge - The Voyager - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 2nd, 2024
Written based on this version: 2023, CD, Independent

There is a big chance a lot of metal fans have missed the debut full length “The Voyager” in 2023 by the Greek melodic prog metal band Ocean’s Edge. At least I did which is a shame as I am a lover of this particular sub-genre. These days the term prog metal is often referring to more modern and extreme stuff and while I am a big fan of black and death metal and also like music with avantgarde leanings I am pretty old school when it comes to prog metal. The combination of crunchy guitars, intricate songwriting, clean and soaring vocals and catchy melodies is what drew me into this style. So, I took notice when I first stumbled upon Ocean’s Edge who name as their main influences Dream Theater and Symphony X. Listening to their music for the first time left me massively impressed as they not only manage to rekindle this cozy spirit of the golden days but also put their own stamp auf identity on their songs.

Over six full tracks (plus two instrumental pieces) and a running time of 55 minutes Ocean’s Edge build great tension and a dramatic story arc while not falling into the trap of forgetting to present the listeners accessible songs as well. While it is fun to listen to some technically sophisticated parts and crazy guitar artistic as well most of the time for us passive fans music offers a way of finding relaxation and getting fully immersed in an album. Sometimes progressive metal has a tendency to dwell too much on the lighter side of heavy music, where melodies and technicality threaten to dilute the raw power of a genre that, by its very nature, also shouldn’t always be all sweetness and light. Ocean’s Edge certainly got the balance right, as this record is heavy and smooth in similar manner. This is what I’d call proper progressive metal, an amalgamation of strength, complexity and enough melody to keep things interesting. Take e.g. the song “Waterfall” which throws some heavy hitting riffs at you straight after you have been buttered up by some wonderfully soft passages.

The skills of the musicians are absolutely professional, but I am glad to report that Ocean’s Edge always keep focused and concentrate on offering well-crafted and stringent songs. You will get a few rhythm changes and polyrhythms here and there, but nothing too over-boarding that would hurt the flow. The songs are structured in a way so that they can be easily enjoyed by each fan of prog on the lighter side of things and melodic metal in general. The rhythm section does a great job in building the backbone for all the riffs and majestic harmonies, but also adding a few spectacular moments to ramp up the intensity. Even the bass gets a few moments to shine. Soloing sections are mandatory of course, but also work as transition between different sections of one song. The placement of the various tracks has been well planned, so that the listener gets the feeling of a continuous thread running through the whole album. After the second instrumental piece Ocean’s Edge prepare for the big final and present their two 10+ hymns “Stream of Souls” and “Atlas” which pack every positive aspect of the band into their playing time. This is prog metal art of the highest order and reminds of some of the genre’s finest moments.

Singer Manos does a fantastic job of guiding through the whole album. He is able to put some grit into his delivery when necessary, but most of the time his soothing voice is the perfect counterpart to the instrumentation. The production is also pretty much flawless, and it is obvious that a lot of work has been put into creating the album. The mix is well balanced with each instrument being fully audible. The sound is crystal clear with the guitars having a nice and crunchy tone and the drums sounding punchy and powerful. It speaks for the sound engineering that although so much is going on here no detail has been buried in the mix. All in all, “The Voyager” is a fantastic album and fans of melodic prog metal done in the tradition way cannot go wrong here. Amazing stuff that needs to get more recognition.