Oceans of Night
Domain

If you’re a progressive metal nerd like myself, chances are you’ve heard of Scott Mosher. On top of having a great character and sense of humour, he has four solo albums under his name. If you have heard him before, you’ll probably agree that he’s one of the best guitarists in the world of melodic prog metal. Oceans of Night takes his penchant for atmosphere into a partnership with another Scott, a Mr. Oliva who offers his vocals to Mosher’s musical ideas. Having reviewed this album about a year ago elsewhere, my perspective of “Domain” now is weathered by time and a desire to check back and see if my tastes may have been more accommodating than they used to be. Although my overall impression of “Domain” has not changed much however, there are certainly things about Oceans of Night‘s second album that feel more impressive the second time you experience them.

It must have been January early this year I first listened to Oceans of Night; both “Domain” and the debut, “The Shadowheart Mirror“. On “Shadowheart“, Oceans of Night introduced themselves as a fairly melodic, and even catchy progressive metal band- the sort that you see quite often in Europe. With “Domain“, things get a little more intricate and proggy for them, although if memory serves, there were some sacrifices made. Namely, the sense of hook-heavy fun that engaged me with “The Shadowheart Mirror” has been toned down. The seventeen minute self-titled opener is a big indicator that Oceans of Night seeks to take their melodic sound down a more progcentric route. I’ve heard Oceans of Night labeled before as ‘atmospheric’ progressive metal, and this tag would certainly work. Although the compositions blend the crowd energy of AOR hard rock with power and progressive metal styles, the production is the band’s most distinctive element, slathering most instruments in a sheet of reverb. Scott Oliva’s vocals at times feel a little unsure of themselves in terms of the melody, as if there were sections where he was only given an outline of where to go with the melody. Overall however, Oliva’s vocals rock, in a word. The same can also be said for Mosher’s guitar work. Although there aren’t too many riffs here that stand out as ‘excellent’ perse, Scott M.’s lead guitar and soloing is an absolute joy. It works so well with the driving rhythm-direction that Oceans of Night goes for; I could listen to that sort of lead work for hours and not get bored!

As I mentioned, production is the hot topic with Oceans of Night, and even upon returning to “Domain“, I’m still a little unsure of what to think of it. Based on composition and performance alone, it’s not the sort of thing you would plug as ‘atmospheric’; Oceans of Night focuses on the tight melodic and song-based aspects of their music , and I tend to think of atmosphere as something that takes quite a bit of longwinded energy to gradually conjure. Giving the guitars that embellished sense of presence does give the sense that you’re listening to the album in a very vast amphitheater, but the budget-feel of the production can’t handle it. As a result, the atmosphere results in a fairly muddy sound, and this can serve to rob “Domain” of some of its ‘rock’ power. I still don’t feel that “Domain” is a total success, but it’s certainly got a unique sound to it, and in a progressive metal scene where everyone seems to drift towards one or two prefabricated templates, that is something to look out for.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Conor Fynes
October 11th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    really digging this. reminds me of a heavier version of some of Queensryche’s moodier late 80s/early 90s material before they went downhill. thanks for bringing this to light!


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