PICK OF THE WEEK: Lengthy hiatus for …And Oceans finally ends on toppling ‘Cosmic World Mother’

Photo by Mikael Karlbom

One of the pro wrestling podcasts I listen to has been revisiting the Raw vs Nitro battle from a couple decades ago, a journey they just finished with as they finally got to the final WCVW show. It’s hard to believe how much that industry changed in that time. As far as metal goes, it’s practically a different universe unto itself since that era as sounds have warped, advanced, and gotten more extreme.

It was practically two decades ago the last time we got a new record from Finnish symphonic black metal band …And Oceans, though its members have been active in other incarnations and groups (Havoc Unit, Festerday). A few years ago, the band reformed to play some shows, and now, 18 years after their last record “A.M.G.O.D.” they return with “Cosmic World Mother,” a firebreather of an album and completely inspired piece of work that slips them seamlessly into the modern metal world. While the band started to go into smoking industrial corners in their last few years together as …And Oceans, they’ve rediscovered their black metal savagery on this 11-track, almost 48-minute album that is a revelation from front to back. There are some new faces among the band’s ranks as vocalist Mathias Lillmåns (Finntrol, Festerday), keyboard player Antti Simonen, and drummer Kauko Kuusisalo join long-lasting members Timo Kontio (guitars), Teemu Saari (guitars), and Petri Seikkula (bass), and this new version explodes with energy and power on this devastating comeback album.

“The Dissolution of Mind and Matter” gets things started by erupting right away as strong melodies lap through the fires, and an animalistic pace is achieved. The growls crush while the drums follow suit, and synth emerges at the end, sending the track into an alien cloud. “Vigilance and Atrophy” assaults out of the gates as shrieks rain own, and a synth wall adds a thick mist. The leads smoke while the drums ignite with the shrieks ripping away, melodies feeding the fires, and the synth cascading out. “Five of Swords” launches a deluge of riffs and a synth gaze, while the vocals assault the mind. Great orchestral swatches color in the madness before things get lush for a spell, and then a final outbreak soars and rushes away. “As the After Becomes the Before” emerges in a bed of keys, and then everything is shredded when leads take hold, and the enveloping playing enraptures. Electronic weirdness takes hold while desperate gasps increase your adrenaline level, pouring out its intensity into fog. The title cut has keys dropping sheets of moisture, giving off shimmers as the rest of the pace explodes. There is undeniable energy on display here while the programming gives off a serious sci-fi vibe, as everything ends in a savage gust.

“Helminthiasis” starts in a galactic void before the pace ignites, and savage growls do damage to your muscles. The playing is overwhelming, and even when things halt for a moment, it’s only to add more madness to their formula. Strange keys glaze while the drums kick up, and an ugly burst contains menacing growls and a smashing that drags you to the end. “Oscillator Epitaph” has the guitars riled up right away before the playing begins a scorched Earth policy. Amid the destruction, the song is quite catchy in spots with a foggy synth backing and a rousing temperament that disappears into the mist. “In Abhorrence Upon Meadows” is a quick instrumental that veers into deep space, dripping elegance and dreamy weirdness, pulling right into “Apokatastasis.” There, the track totally engulfs into heavy blazing, destroying whatever’s in its path. The growls are scratching while the keys give off a heavy glow behind them before another burst of savage ripping. The drums destroy the earth, while severe punishment finally melts into a synth storm. “One of Light, One of Soil” has ominous tones as it enters, with the drums swallowing everything whole. The playing rushes to the surface and bursts through while the pace plays tricks, and animalistic growls pour into demolition that continues to the destructive end. “The Flickering Lights” is your closer and starts with synth swell as the rest of the elements bleed in behind it. Once we’re in full swing, the pace gushes while shrieks assault, and the playing gets tempered but no less intense. The song feels like a lasting storm where massive shrieks, a driving tempo, and strange sound clouds meet and finally push off to the final destination well beyond this place.

…And Oceans return to this plane to find a metal world much different than the one they left in 2002. Granted, the many incarnations of offshoot bands kept the members in the mix, but it feels like “Cosmic World Mother” is a record that exists in a different mind-set from their earlier work and really mixes well with the savagery of modern times. Not to mention the music is ridiculously good, and this is an album that grabs your attention right away and refuses to let go until nearly 48 minutes later. A much welcome return.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/andoceans/

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here (rest of the world): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/