sees The Ocean taking on a behemoth of a concept by making an album in which each song represents a different level of the ocean. The concept is daunting and complex and The Ocean make an album that is completely worthy of its rich concept.
was originally supposed to be instrumental (the strictly instrumental version is the second disc of the album) which means The Ocean put more of a focus on complexity and experimentation in the music and the results are simply stunning. The Ocean have always had a lot of wide-ranging influences and layers to their music, but they've never created music that use these elements more chaotically or brilliantly than on Pelagial
. The frequent tonal shifts this record has could've been jarring going from a soothing orchestral piece to an incredibly heavy sludge section on a whim, but none of it sounds forced or inorganic in the slightest. The Ocean are just fantastic songwriters and everything flows together incredibly well making for a truly special listening experience.
Though there are many different genres and tempo-changes on this record, I have to say that the sludge elements standout above the rest. The riffs are absolutely monstrous throughout the record. I'm an absolute sucker for a good sludge riff and Pelagial
has an abundance of them. The Bathyalpelagic trilogy ("Impasses", "The Wish in Dreams", "Disequilibriated") had my jaw on the floor. The riff work is amazing and I was shocked at how heavy some of the portions were. Don't get me wrong, The Ocean have never strayed from having heavy sections in their music, but they've never had anything as skull-crushing as the Bathyalpelagic trilogy in the past.
The record also makes for the best vocal performance from Loic Rossetti to-date. Rossetti had been battling a slew of health problems during the initial writing process of this record (hence why the album was originally supposed to be instrumental.) But he clearly recovered for the recording process and he returned to the band with a vengeance. His clean vocals are more crisp and emotional than ever while his screams have a lot more power behind them. Overall Rossetti has improved substantially as a vocalist from Helio/Anthropocentric
and his work here elevates the immense musical landscape the rest of the band provided in his absence. After so many years making solid records, Pelagial
finally sees The Ocean taking their music to the next level by making the near-masterpiece I knew they had in them for all these years.
2.Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny
3.Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe