Doomed Nation

Sounds For The Lost Generation

The Ocean unleash a music video for the track »Oligocene« taken from forthcoming album, »Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic«

German atmospheric progressive/sludge/post-hardcore collective The Ocean unleash a music video for the track »Oligocene« taken from their forthcoming album, »Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic«, dropping on September 25th, 2020 via Metal Blade Records.

01. Triassic
02. Jurassic | Cretaceous
03. Palaeocene
04. Eocene
05. Oligocene
06. Miocene | Pliocene
07. Pleistocene
08. Holocene
09. Triassic (Instrumental)
10. Jurassic | Cretaceous (Instrumental)
11. Palaeocene (Instrumental)
12. Eocene (Instrumental)
13. Oligocene (Instrumental)
14. Miocene | Pliocene (Instrumental)
15. Pleistocene (Instrumental)
16. Holocene (Instrumental)

The band comments: “Filmed by Loic, David and Robin, edited and animated by Craig Murray, the video was shot in the Aragats mountains in Armenia, during our “Siberian Traps” tour last summer.

We found this place by accident: the delapidated ruins of a soviet observatory & research station for cosmic radiation. The building itself looked like a spaceship that had crash-landed up high in the mountains, but there were lots of other interesting structures scattered across the landscape: concrete cubes, underground tunnels, rusted machinery, fallen power poles and watchtowers.

It all looked like taken straight out of Tarkovsky’s »Stalker« film, which was the backbone of the »Pelagial« lyrics and concept. When we released that record, we couldn’t think of a suitable location for a video clip… and there, 6 years later, we found it. The bright sunshine across the concrete wasteland made the eery place feel even more surreal.

The instrumental track was written by drummer Paul, but recorded with Peter on drums. It serves as a transitional track from the busy and heavy first half of the record (»Mesozoic«) into the more relaxed, spacious and cold ambient vibes prevailing on the second half of the record (»Cenozoic«).”

From Metal Blade Records:

In September 2020, The Ocean are poised to release the eagerly-awaited concluding parts of the Phanerozoic journey. Completing the album took longer than expected, because of the band’s heavy touring schedule since the release of Phanerozoic I: impressions of these adventures through India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe are documented in the 130-page Phanerozoic photo-book that will be released along with Part II. In contrast with compositional directness of »Phanerozoic I«, the new album – »Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic« – is a vastly more progressive and perverse piece of work.

“»Phanerozoic II« is more experimental, more eclectic in musical style and direction, and more varied in terms of tempos, beats, guitar work and the use of electronics,” notes Staps. “This was an intentional choice: we wanted Part I to feel rather streamlined and to have a strong cohesion between the individual songs. We wanted to create a certain vibe to linger from the first until the last note throughout the whole record. We kept the weirder, more daring and more progressive material for Part II. The outcome is a record that is a real journey. It starts in one place, and concludes in a totally different place. In a way, it relates to »Pelagial«, which was similar in that it was also a journey: but a more guided, focused and predictable one. »Phanerozoic II« on the other hand is closer to the experience of free fall.”

Divided into two sections – »Mesozoic« and »Cenozoic« – »Phanerozoic II« once again showcases the detail and depth that have become two of The Ocean’s most enduring trademarks. While ostensibly delving into the extraordinary realities of the Earth’s shifting temporal tides, Staps and his comrades have long drawn hazy parallels between their chosen subjects and the emotional experiences that their music strives to convey. »Phanerozoic II« is essentially an album about time, with some very poignant and pointed allusions to the modern world woven into the new music’s spiritual fabric.

At the end of the Mesozoic era, an asteroid hit the Yucatan peninsula in what is nowadays Mexico and wiped out not only the dinosaurs, but most life on earth. The impact triggered forest fires of unfathomable dimensions, and the dust from the impact and the smoke from the fires clouded the sun for months. Photosynthesis eventually came to a halt on a global level, the oxygen level in the atmosphere plummeted, temperatures dropped. This historic apocalypse is the essence of the track »Jurassic | Cretaceous«, which The Ocean take to the human level by references to maverick movie director Lars Von Trier’s masterpiece »Melancholia« and the various philosophical questions touched upon in that film. The current climate change debate, which was alluded to in »Permian: The Great Dying« on »Phanerozoic I«, recurs in the chorus hook-line of Cretaceous: ‘We are just like reptiles, giant rulers of the world. Within the blink of an eye wiped off the face of the Earth’.”

“Though humanity is only a very recent phenomenon in the 541 million years history of the Phanerozoic eon, the lyrics are obviously written from a human perspective”, Staps explains. “They are following Nietzsche’s philosophical idea of amor fati in the light of the larger themes of Eternal Recurrence, and the inevitability of an imaginary impending collision on a planetary scale, which are the two red threads that go through »Phanerozoic I« and »II«.”

A profound cautionary tale, »Phanerozoic II« is underpinned by some of the most imaginative and challenging music that The Ocean – completed by drummer Paul Seidel, keyboard maestro Peter Voigtmann, bassist Mattias Hägerstrand and guitarist David Ramis Ahfeldt – have made yet. Tracked in Iceland, Spain and Germany and produced by esteemed studio guru Jens Bogren, the album is once again blessed with the presence of Jonas Renkse of Katatonia, whose peerless vocals find another sublime backdrop during the second half of mammoth epic »Jurassic | Cretaceous«.

Also making a return appearance on the new record is Tomas Liljedahl, best known as vocalist with iconic Swedish post-metal/sludge crew Breach. With cameos on »Aeolian«, »Precambrian« and »Pelagial«, Hallbom has already proved his kinship and chemistry with The Ocean, and Staps is thrilled to have had his involvement in the band’s latest masterwork.

“Breach were one of the most important bands for me, not only with their milestone album »Kollapse«, which was basically the invention of what people refer to as post-metal nowadays long before this term was ever coined, but also »It’s Me God« (1997) and especially »Venom« (1999) – they changed my view on music and guitar playing entirely. Breach were different from everything and everyone else around at that time and it’s an honour to have Tomas continue the tradition to guest on our albums for the fourth time now.”

The Ocean have long been known for their extensive, awe-inspiring album packaging, and their 10th album is no let-down: the »Phanerozoic« box set included an engraved slate rock plate next to vinyl records and/or CDs of both albums, and even authentic pre-historic fossils: a trilobite from the Palaeozoic, an ammonite from the Mesozoic and a petrified fish skeleton from the Cenozoic era. The band sourced these fossils over the period of several months with the help of a geological institute in Munich, and getting the quantities needed to fulfil 1,000 box set preorders was a great challenge: hundreds of Moroccan trilobites, 450 million (!) years of age, had to be sourced from global trade fairs.

Released into a world in turmoil, »Phanerozoic II« will provide fans of adventurous and fearless music with all the sonic and philosophical sustenance they have come to expect from this most intuitively progressive German/Swiss/Swedish musicians collective. Despite the current pausing of all live performances, The Ocean will be twitching in the starting blocks when the madness of the global pandemic has passed; primed and ready to take their new music out on the road, where it will doubtless mutate and grow into ever more extraordinary shapes. The band have always been professional escape artists from the modern world, playing in a many far-flung locations as possible, and Staps insists that The Ocean will roll on for the foreseeable future, as mighty and inexorable as time itself.

“We’re always striving to get out as much as we can,” Staps concludes. “And as far away as we can, to bring our music and our lives to the last frontiers which remain in a world where the last square inches of free spaces have been Google-mapped to a frightening high resolution and level of detail.”

Bojan Bidovc // music enthusiast, promoter, misanthrop and sometimes a journalist as well

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