The Ocean at Glasgow Audio 9 July 2014

The Ocean are very much at the cutting edge of progressive metal, so expectations were high at their gig on a warm Wednesday evening at Glasgow Audio; a venue fast gaining a reputation as the place to go, to see some of the most exciting live metal acts.

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This is a band that also has high expectations of its audience, in terms of embracing the new and risk taking. They tested this to the full, by basing their live set on a dynamic run through, in its entirety, of their most recent album Pelagial. This album is built around the concept of the open ocean 'Pelagia', progressing musically through the five ocean depth zones, and is specifically designed to be played as one continuous piece of music.

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Live the musical journey through gentle melodic playing to doom and death metal influenced heavy sounds, is beautifully complimented by the screen backdrop, showing a sequence of ocean scenes, and the atmospheric lighting of green, blue and red shades.

The set begins with the elegant instrumental Epipelagic, segueing into Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny, with the sound of the ocean coming through the guitars, and plaintive vocals evolving into a death metal growl, as the central riff builds in intensity. While on the screen backdrop, a coral sea is overlaid with a woman's face. Spellbinding stuff!

Also very different, from the traditional stage choreography one might expect to see from most bands, is the way vocalist Loic Rossetti has his mike stand set by the side of the drummer Paul Seidel, and set back from the band's frontline. From there at some of the most intense moments during the set, he launches a vocal attack on the audience, running to stand on the front stage monitors, and screaming the most emotional and affecting vocals.

The sequence of Abyssopelagic I: Boundless Vasts and Abyssopelagic II: Signals of Anxiety, shows the power and subtlety of this continuous music approach, played live. Beginning with almost snarled vocals over a fantastic guitar sequence, there is the most beguiling contrast with some beautifully sung clean vocals. This is followed by the bubbling sounds of the ocean, leading into a haunting guitar refrain, and deeply emotive vocals. While visually a stingray floats across the screen backdrop, and Loic sings some of his vocals literally inches away from the faces of some of the audience members (there is no crowd barrier in Audio, which allows for this sort of intimacy).

The final two song sequence of Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance and Benthic: The Origin of Our Wishes, brings this astonishing set to a very heavy close. Including a really deft interlude of great cymbal and bass guitar work, and Loic singing some of his vocals face to face, with one of the audience and ruffling his hair, in a very touching moment. In the final section, The Ocean to all intents become a doom metal band, and leave the stage with feedback ringing in the ears of the audience. The audience were so immersed they even applauded half way through, and before the song sequence had ended.

A faultless, engaging, and musically astonishing performance from this wonderful band!


Photo credits: Lewis Allen

To view all photos taken during this set click here. There are 3 available.