“Your savior’s soul is consumed by guilt
Your faith in him won’t be saving you”
– The Ocean Collective
However gloom, it is not an understatement to claim that this year has been shitty so far and that it would require a miraculous change of tides to swift that, even barely, into the spectrum of even “okay”-ness.
And in the midst of it all,
a global-pandemic of great proportions that is followed by a global economic recess of epic proportions, going in parallel with a continuous ecological distaster of gargantuan proportions, it is an objectively bad time for artists to share their work, without being able to exhibit at the same time.
Thankfully, the Ocean collective did not care too much about it and released their work Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic, hopefully only a few months before we get lucky enough to see them perform live – winter tour announced a few weeks back. This (slightly) Tool-esque masterpiece (primarily – but also with Gojir-esque and Neurosis-esque influences, often seen as some sort of tribute) is regarded as a natural continuation of their paleontology-based approach after 2018’s Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic, and is their eighth full-length record overall.
More than that, the Ocean continue their religio-socio-political criticism toward the world’s approach to reality (climate crisis). After their Jung-ian-based analysis of the subconscious (Pelagial) and their exploration of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence (PI:P), PII:M|C describes the analogy between the journey facing an extinction event (Triassic-Jurassic) and humankind’s pompous inability to prevent another.
Lyrically, the record is based on the following notion: The apex predator of then (dinosaurs) used to be invincible, until a non-preventable extinction event wipes them off the face of the Earth (asteroid). In an analogous manner, the apex predator of now (humankind) is unable to prevent the next extinction event (climate crisis?), all under the scope of the main theme of PI:P self-similarity and Nietzsche’s eternal return.
There are some small easter-eggs here and there, such as a couple of references to Lars Von Trier’s film Melancholia (Melancholia has arrive, Antares was a lie), where the rogue planet of the same name inevitably collides with the Earth.
Naturally, the walk through the record’s parts, is in exact accordance with the geological epochs that they are named after and not only that, but this accordance is extended into the mood of the whole record: the poetic-filthy heaviness of Jurassic being reshaped into restlessness of Palaeocene, and the peace of Eocene and Oligocene, being transformed into the volcanic riffs of Miocene | Pliocene.
Produced by the guru Jens Bogren, the work done in PII:M|C is impeccable. Robin Staps and David Ramis Ahfeldt’s intertwined lines have evolved tremendously over the last records. Paul Seidel’s drumming is flourishing uncontrollably over amazing odd feels and apocalyptic blastbeats. The record’s numerous faux-orchestral keyboard passages are built with great craftsmanship from Peter Voigtmann, while it feels like Mattias Hagerstrand’s bass lines find more space (to absolutely shine) in comparison with previous releases. Lastly, the vocal performance by Loïc Rosetti is simply outstanding. He is showing immense versatility and class to sing anything that is required of him and delivers faultlessly.
Great guests from our favourites Tomas Liljedahl (BREACH) and Jonas Renkse (KATATONIA) (also in PI:P – 2018) are just complimenting the record ideally. Long-time collaborator Dalai Theofilopoulou once again recorded the amazing cello passages as well.
In case you haven’t picked that up yet,
I am a huge fanboy of the band and I find it extremely challenging to be objective listening to a record I personally think is a masterpiece. Certainly a top candidate for the record of the year. Feel free to take everything that is written with a pinch of salt.
Favourite tracks: Every. Single. One.
This record is absolute filth.