|Review: Oceans of Sadness - Mirror Palace|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: April 10, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3/5 (60%) (10 Votes)
Despite their name, Oceans of Sadness could be summed up in one word: refreshing. In practically every sense of the word, these Belgian avant-garde experimentalists have progressed through each release to positively charge all their strange and wonderful attributes onto one solitary disc, creating their fourth, most accomplished effort "Mirror Palace". Forming way back in 1995 and forging a career based on a foundation of influences such as Type O Negative and Paradise Lost, Oceans of Sadness shot past the commercial major label controversy like Sonic the Hedgehog on crack, releasing album after album of intelligent, mind-tripping sentimentalities in the shape of 2001's "For We Are", "Laughing Tears, Crying Smile" in 2002, and 2004's "Send in the Clowns"; which all widened the bands loyal fan base, as well as earning them cult status and a renowned veneration from worldwide music publications. Now, after a switch in tact and a move to Italian label Scarlet, Oceans of Sadness are ready to wash the world away with their pervasive metal waves.
"Mirror Palace" incorporates new influences; namely more in the progressive metal category; plenty of Dream Theater and surprisingly, Pain of Salvation nuances creep throughout the album, which in itself is a revitalising elixir from the boring stereotype. Some fast paced riffing and all-round evil atmospherics gleam from Amorphis and former touring buddies Dimmu Borgir every so often, adding a dark, enveloping undercurrent that lifts and comforts like a velvet blanket. Often a thick mixture of harsh and clean male vocals, the contrast is handled in a way reminiscent of Canadian power/death metallers Into Eternity, only without the sugar-coated hooks or Malmsteen-esque guitar work. Oceans of Sadness are a different beast, a beast extremely versatile and at home with its private identity. Without merely drifting through the motions like many bands under the 'progressive' banner do, we have a deep well of influences that these Belgians draw from; for example the classical intro of monstrous album closer "I Know You Know" is extremely authentic, whilst "Sleeping Dogs" and "Cruel Sacrifice" integrate elements of jazz and ragtime.
Mixed and produced by seasoned veteran Jens Bogren of Opeth and Katatonia fame, the sound of the album is seeped in sagacity; boiling over with murky desperation, and a sinister sense of foreboding. Perhaps sounding a little muddy in places due to the ambitious techniques Oceans of Sadness attempt, "Mirror Palace" is still a sharp, edgy, aggressive prog metal album that certainly grows in quality with each listen, one that will sweep you away with the very thing their moniker suggests.
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|Review: Mirror Palace (reviewed by Christopher Foley)|
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