..And Oceans
As in Gardens, So In Tombs

As I’m sure most of you know, …And Oceans returned after an 18-year hiatus ( not including the Havoc Unit years) with 2020’s superb Cosmic World Mother. And after a relatively quick tuned around have returned with their second post-hiatus album, As in Gardens, So in Tombs.

Now, there is sometimes potentially a bit of an issue with a band’s second album after a long time off. Excitement and rabid anticipation can often cloud the fan base for the initial release/album, and the reunion itself clouds the actual music, and the response can be a little overstated. I have been guilty of this many times.

But when that excitement wears off, how is the band’s next release, when the reunion glow has dulled a bit? Well, let’s find out for… And Oceans’ second effort after a very successful return, which was one of the better reunions in metal.

First off, yes, they are still locked into the more classically symphonic black metal sound of the first two classic albums. That said, (due to the sci-fi theme of the album I imagine), I do hear a couple of very few cyber/industrial beeps and whirrs in some of the songs (i.e. the otherwise blistering opening title track, “Inverse Magnification”). A portent of the future? Who knows, but it’s very minor, if worth keeping an eye on for the next releases.

What’s important is that original guitarists Teemu Saari and Timo Kontio and their new members, are still in lockstep with the band’s retroactive direction and deliver an album that’s almost as good as Cosmic World Mother, but again, that’s largely due to less excitement with the reunion factor.

Keyboardist Antti Simonen, as he did on Cosmic World Mother, once again recreates the band’s early hues, which were a tad different from the classically inspired stylings of their peers. And to be honest, is often the highlight of the songs (even the odd sci-fi moment). Despite some absolutely killer riffs in the likes of standout “The Collector and His Construct”, the throwback imbuing sway of “Within Fire and Crystal”, and epic, moody closer “Ambivalent God”, the keyboards are the highlight throughout. The closer is a perfect example.

But the songwriting and the razor-sharp production (from Swallow the Sun guitarist Juho Räihä) is still top-notch as well. Along with the highlights above, tracks like the ferocious “Carried on Lead Wings”, bombastic “Cloud Heads” (another track with some brief cyber mechanics), or seething “Wine into Water”. It’s all absolutely perfectly executed symphonic black metal with a very slight industrial hue.

So, addressing the problem I put forth earlier about a band’s second effort after reuniting? … And Oceans have killed any illusions of a letdown or laurel resting with an excellent follow-up to Cosmic World Mother. Let’s see if they stay on this nostalgic course or take a hard left as they once did earlier in their career.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 30th, 2023

Comments

  1. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    Very excited to hear this new album. Cosmic World Mother was one of my favorite releases of 2020 and to have one of the old school bands keeping the style alive is awesome. Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts and Symmetry of I are favorites from the time, while not reaching the status of the greats. I’m not sure from your beeps and wirrs comments on where you think …And Oceans went wrong originally but I think A.M.G.O.D. is an excellent disc, and wouldn’t mind some more of that style mixing back in.


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