Oceanwake
Sunless

I’m having a hard time coming to grips with the second album from Finland’s Oceanwake, Sunless. Not that I don’t like it or anything, it’s just its sort of in stylistic limbo between traditional melancholic lumbering Finnish doom metal and a more Post Metal ebb akin to country mates Callisto or fellow Europeans like Desert Beneath the Pavement, Impure WilhelminaThe OceanCult of Luna and such. And while this mix and balance on paper may seem appealing, it’s a bit of a detriment as it doesn’t really stand out in either while delivering solid moments of both styles.

4 songs in 43 minutes, all ranging from 8-15 minutes cover both doom and post metal paradigms. Vocalist Eero Haula covers impressive deep Finnish doom/death growls, blackish rasps and clean post rock croons, the later of which are a bit underwhelming. The riffs alternate between a familiar sullen Finnish/European  doom mope akin to Draconian, Shape of Despair etc, but is littered with shimmery, acoustic moments of airy clarity that recall the post rock bands mentioned above, and while acoustics/atmospheric bridges and segues have always been a part of doom, here, there is a little disconnect as they don’t quite meld with the death/doom aspect fully.

One need only listen to 15 minute opener “The Lay of a Coming Storm”  and third track “Avanturine” to hear these elements all at intertwined into long, rangy epics that flutter between depressive and  atmospheric. But the key to post rock as always been mountainous crescendos and peaks as the pay off, but Oceanwake seem to build then never crest, instead lulling back into an acoustic section that never really has an emotional impact other then being an acoustic bridge.

The  thing is, when going full on doom as heard on the first few minutes of “Parhelion”, Oceanwake prove themselves of being very capable at the rending, despondent tunes of their homeland. But even then, those underwhelming clean croons derails things. Closer  “Ephemeral” starts with a direct post rock crumble and lurch, but again there’s no peak or climax as the payoff, instead it goes the opposite way into sullen, layered melodic doom.

Sunless is awfully close to being a very good record if it simply stayed in the tried and tested Finnish death/doom realms, but over reaching into post rock hinders this release somewhat. Still, a solid record that shows a Finnish doom band can branch out a little, even if with mixed results.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 18th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick K

    I really liked this album if a different style of death/doom album to get lost into and i believe one of the guys from Korpiklaani produced it? Good review, definitely a band worth checking out.


  2. Commented by: stiffy

    I love this album. It’s definitely as you described it but I don’t think that’s a problem. They should be a serious force by next album


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