Ocean of Grief
Pale Existence

Ocean of Grief is a melodic doom death metal band hailing from Greece and I have sat on this release for a bit before reviewing it for a number of reasons.  I love doom-death metal and some bands embrace the sorrow, depression and lonely atmospheres more than others.  Sometimes when these types of emotions are added to the doom-death experience it can be a lot to take in and review, since when we listen to music it should move you in certain ways.  This band was not on my radar, and neither were their prior releases, their 2016 debut ep Fortress of My Dark Self and their Nightfall’s Lament debut album in 2018.

Their newest offering was recommended to me by someone who holds a special place in my dark and lonely heart and the album cover of Pale Existence with the overruling color being blue, for a plethora of personal reasons related to this individual, I had to take a step back before I could review it, because of the emptiness and sadness I still feel relating to this situation.  So how the hell is that for an opening for a doom-death metal review, folks? A little personal mumbo jumbo coming from yours truly.  So yes, Ocean of Grief, so impressed me with their emotive leanings I went back and scored their prior releases and was thoroughly impressed to no end.

Pale Existence is 7 songs in 47 minutes and the longest track on the album, at over eight minutes, “Poetry for the Dead”, starts us on this depressive journey.  The eerie opening keyboards sets the stage for the rest of this album and then the music lumbers forth, then gets back into an atmospheric lull before the vocals come growling forward at the 2.23 mark.  The melodies are breathtaking and super emotive and the undercurrent of doom death heaviness is ever-present.  The vocals are perfectly growled and the double bass drums kicking in a minute later add that little extra.  More atmospheric and softer moments rear their head with some classic metal guitar soloing that for some reason reminds me of some of the sounds on some early Fates Warning albums.  The heaviness at the 5.50 mark is excellent and more guitar solos and the song trails off.  What an epic opening song.

“Imprisoned Between Worlds” is such an excellent title for a song, coming from a band that plays this particular genre of metal.  The song is atmospheric, hopeless and very depressing.  Trust me you will be whipping out the first My Dying Bride ep and debut album, same with early Anathema too, after you listen to Ocean of Grief.  The song gets into mellower moments while building up to the epic 3-minute mark which definitely screams for you to wallow in your misery and filth.  The heaving and deliberate heaviness returns and Charalabos Oikonomopoulos’ growling vocals are unnerving, as they come in and out of this song.  He is good at what he does, the tone does get a bit one-dimensional as there are no other tones he uses, however, they do go well with the music.  “Cryptic Constellations” has more of that double bass action and some of the isolated moments at the four-minute mark, with the atmospheric buildup and ending heavy again, make this an excellent listening experience.

Ocean of Grief’s Pale Existence is an excellent doom death metal album with many other areas of interest surrounding their sound as the melodies, heaviness and song writing all encapsulate the feelings of loss, depression, hopelessness and sadness.

In some respect, I find solace in this type of music and definitely over the last several months I have gone back to this album multiple times, all the while wishing some of those personal moments, I mentioned in my opening, were resolved and that individual was still with me…But alas good reader, if some of my emotive rants, help you to understand this type of music or want to investigate Ocean of Grief, then go for it.  I have not had a band conjure up such internal emotions in quite some time and this is an excellent album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 7th, 2023

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