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The Ocean’s Aeolian; under the microscope

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On a scale never before seen on The Monolith, we’ll be dedicating much of this week to a theme. We had Instrumental Music Week earlier this year, which was a lot of fun, but never before have we done something on this scale.

The reason for this devastating dedication? The Ocean, Germany’s premier progressive metal band, are releasing their sixth studio album Pelagial this week, and so in honour we’ll be taking a look at all things ocean-related in the realm of heavy music this week – not just for The Ocean, mind, but for all manner of aquatically-aligned bands, musicians, artists and albums.

So to kick things off, in place of our usual Calm Before The Storm posts we’ll be taking a look at each of The Ocean’s previous studio full-lengths; highlighting a few core songs and generally brown-nosing them to the edge of the sevens seas.

First up: Aeolian [2006, Metal Blade Records]

The Ocean - Aeolian

This will come up later in the week in my chat with Robin Staps, but Aeolian‘s lead track “City In The Sea” is actually based on the poem of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. Being one of my favourite storytellers, this song has extra weight with me.

The song’s lyrics are exactly the same as the poem – allowed, as Poe has been dead for the requisite seventy years – and depicts Death as the ruler of a city in the west – the city in the sea – heralding hell’s coming to Earth.

Elsewhere on the album, “Austerity” is an initially slow-rolling, nine-minute sludge-fest, which shows its more hardcore sensibilities as it goes on. This early work from the band is fucking heavy; low, fuzzy, and all throat in the vocal department.

In geology, the aeolian processes are those by which the wind shapes and erodes the earth. Much like longshore drift (remember those GCSE geography lessons?) shifts and deposits materials along the coast, so the wind can move and shift debris and material. It’s named for the Greek god Æolus, and it’s all very fitting; the album is very intense, and indelibly erodes and shapes the listener.

Check back every day this week for another look at one of The Ocean’s LPs, as well as the rest of the content we have planned for this week! Check the section below on every article for what we’ve done so far.

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