As a deathcore fan, 2009 has been off to a pretty solid start with the likes of Rose Funeral, Impending Doom, Glasgow Grin, Within the Ruins, Earth From Above, etc. However two recent releases in particular have savaged my genitals with the tenacity of an African Honey Badger and I was wearing beehive underpants; the re-released, self titled EP from Utah’s Chelsea Grin and the much ballyhooed debut Depths, from Chicagos’s Oceano; allegedly the “the heaviest and most pissed off deathcore on the planet”.

Admittedly, Oceano are not doing anything remotely inventive or creative within the confines of the much maligned genre, and those that indeed despise the genre, aren’t going to find anything here to change their minds. However, like Whitchapel’s This is Exile  and Carnifex’s The Diseased and the Poisoned last year, Depths does everything absolutely right and delivers it with a truly fierce and brutishly uncompromising presentation.

Though adhering strictly to deathcore paradigms (which really don’t need to be recounted here do they?), they have a death metal back bone, and they have a certain sense of brooding menace, palpable intensity and musical maturity that many of their younger, more jovial and clichéd peers lack. Vocalist Adam Warren is responsible for much of the mood with a deeper than thou bellow and the guitars of Andrew Mikhail and Jeremy Carroll often have a controlled, restrained sense of depth and heft amid the expected blast beats and breakdowns. Also, the death metal tone, theme and lyrics isn’t completely forced and over the top like say Suicide Silence or Annotations of an Autopsy (we get it, you want to be considered a death metal band). To top things off, Joey Sturgis’ (Chiodos, At The Throne of Judgment, The Devil Wears Prada), production rounds things off with a super thick, robust production that highlights all the above elements.

On top of the overall mood of the material, while Oceano do certainly deliver the expected, predictable mix of blast beats and thunderous breakdowns, they do stand above many of their peers with a far more lucid approach to songs that actually come across as songs not just breakdowns littered with random blast beats. Tracks like “A Mandatory Sacrifice”, truly devastating  “Samael the Destroyer”, “District of Misery” ‘Empathy for Leviathan”, “Plague Campaign”, bonus track “Involuntary Demoralization” and the almost Dimmu Borgir orchestral intro of “With Legions” are simply huge sounding and well written with a sense of restraint that their more childish, stuttering, spastic peers simply don’t have and all this instantly elevates Oceans into the genre’s very heaviest and best almost effortlessly. And while a couple of more delicate instrumentals (the surprisingly adept an introspective 6 ½ minute “Depths” and closer “Abysm”) show the bands softer side, they are still well crafted and hefty, just sans vocals.

Ultimately though, I’m sure this review comments section will be split between “This is awesome son, the breakdowns are fucking balls, yo” to “This is retarded wigger slam shit”. Ensuring the split between fans and that deathcore stays the red headed step child of death metal, despite impressive, truly heavy albums like this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 15th, 2009


  1. Commented by: plaguemyheavensblack

    “most heaviest”

  2. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I’m digging this album. Yeah Andrew (the singer) sounds pretty brutal, but there is a LOT of overdubbing on his voice, I wonder if most of it is just studio “brutal-ness”.

    By the way you mentioned the Impending Doom album in the review. Are you going to review that here? To me it is a big improvement over the debut, and one of the heavier deathcore albums I’ve heard this year. Their singer Brook is a monster.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    yeah ill be doimg the Impending Doom- it is an improvement- they seem to have decided the christian death metal gimmick wasnt working and focused on a more controlled, restrained heft in line with typical deathcore and hardcore

  4. Commented by: Ryan

    Adam is the vocalist. Andy plays guitar. Just toured with these guys not that long ago and Adam can definitlely do all those vocals live (minus the layered stuff obviously).

  5. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Oops, my fault. I meant to say Adam (vocalist).

    Yeah Erik, I like the direction Impending is going on the new one, everything sounds so much more cohesive and clear (I’m sure the fantastic production has a lot to do with that) especially the drums, I was wondering if they’re drummer is a different guy than the dude who played on the debut? Not that there was anything wrong with the first album but the drumming is spectacular on the new disc.

    Homeboy from Oceano has some chops too.

  6. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah its a different drummer- Andy Hegg was Drummer on Nailed Dead Risen. new drummer is Chad Blackwell

  7. Commented by: sharkethicx

    Can’t wait to see these guys on Friday night with Diskreet, Burning The Masses and Conducting From The Grave. These guys are ridiculous. Also, that new Impending Doom was quite good.

  8. Commented by: krustster

    Oceano is awesome, but HOLY CRAP thanks for the heads-up on Earth From Above. This is insane. I would have never heard of these guys otherwise.

  9. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    krustster-you are welcome- look for a review soon

  10. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    I utterly love this album – good review.

  11. Commented by: Coles

    Hate to hijack this, but I thought the reason Impending Doom gained any notoriety was because of the Death Metal gimmick. they are actually good at the death metal sound. I’ve got to check out their new.

    this Ocean isn’t bad, don’t like the screeching vocals though.

  12. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Thats just it- it was a gimmick

  13. Commented by: Reignman35

    Killer album… picked this up the other day after Erik raved about it before this review.

  14. Commented by: sharkethicx

    So… I just picked this up… and holy hell. Some of these breakdowns are just absoultely RIDICULOUS. By the way, that drummer is tight. I was digging the gravity blasts during Samael the Destroyer. This one hell of a debut album. It definitely tops Carnifex and Whitechapel’s debuts. I like how it’s not completely cookie cutter deathcore and there’s some sort of variation to the song structures. And those breakdowns… =]

    Now I really cannot wait to see them tomorrow night in Peekskill, NY.

  15. Commented by: Dan

    If it’s heavy it’s fucking heavy. This deathcore debate is bitter. Fuck this noise man. Extreme music fans used to be better pals than this.

  16. Commented by: Dan

    btdubs- those thoughts are directed at outside parties, not the generally more accepting and open minded crowd that patrols these waters. Listening to …For Victory. FUCKIN’ BOLT THROWER FUCKING RULES!!!!

    Also, and I think Erik T might agree, someone should write something about Benighted. Those dudes do a sick combination of death metal and some hardcore parts but keep it totally fucking shredding. They are what I imagine when people talking about elements of death and core breaking faces together. Icon is a serious ass beating.

  17. Commented by: The Eric Beneath

    Great review Erik! I’ve been awaiting this record for a while now. I have been trying to get The Body Beneath and them to do a Chicago show together for a while now. It’s just never worked out right. Did you get the copy of the new EP that we sent you? The Body Beneath: “Rise of the Insidious”?

  18. Commented by: Chris

    “Depths” is definitely one of my favorite deathcore albums. It’s just so heavy and devastatingly better than a lot of the kiddie core stuff. All of the songs (lyrics) have their own theme, the instrumentation is great, every aspect is put together perfectly. It isn’t too complex, but it doesn’t sound too generic either; Oceano definitely stand out. I hear the new “Contagion” album is even more brutal. Haven’t heard it yet.

  19. Commented by: EdKemper

    I’m a fan deathcore, but as many times as I’ve tried to like this it is boooooooooring.

  20. Commented by: EdKemper

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