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Oceano are bone crushing heavy death metal from America picked up by Nottingham’s Earache label. Known for innovative signings in the 80s and 90s they may have just picked up another real gem here. This is one of the best death metal albums I’ve heard for a while - there’s a primeval sound of the early death bands but played with a preciseness that’s expected these days (think of an over the top Carcass grind mixed with Meshuggah chug ) and, for me, the crowning glory is the addition of atmosphere courtesy of slow solos drenched in reverb reminding me of Mithras or Paradise Lost (‘Gothic’ era). Singer, Adam, has a real pair of lungs on him making his use of vocals dynamic - a bestial roar followed by a rasping screech. If he can pull this off live it would put him near the top of the tree for best extreme vocalist. In fact, if you read interviews with the band, it seems as though this is a hand picked team to form this band from the Chicago extreme scene, made up of those with a shared passion to push forward - and you find me in agreement that they may have struck on a winning formula. The touch of grind featured as well, which may in part be due to their drop A tuning, giving that sludge feel is never far away. This is where the sharp and heavy production helps keep the sound vibrant with a great drum sound that shows precision but still feels like a real drummer as well. On the title track, ‘Depths’, the band slow down their pace a touch adding new resonance to repetitive guitar strains reminding of Justin Broadrick’s ‘Jesu’ sounds. This is one glorious mix up of over the top death metal, atmospherics and good song craft. Forget that some have labelled them death core - this is much better than that! It’s simply excellent stuff and well worth spending your hard earned cash on!
Review by Paul Sims
20th April 2009
1) Descent
2) Inhuman Affliction
3) A Mandatory Sacrifice
4) Samael The Destroyer
5) Fractured Frames, Scattered Flesh
6) Disgust For Your Kind
7) Depths
8) District of Misery
9) With Legions
10) Slaughtered Like Swine
11) Empathy For Leviathan
12) Plague Campaign; 13) Abysm
"This is one glorious mix up of over the top death metal, atmospherics and good song craft."