Holocene (Album Review)


Daylen DeKeyrel

Holocene is the tenth studio album by the Berlin based atmospheric post-metal and progressive metal band, The Ocean. Known for their diversity in tone, genre, and experimentation. This album sounds as if you took the “Triassic” elements of progressiveness and vocals, with the soft clean (also vocals) but bold synths from “Holocene.” The fourth and closing chapter to the palaeontology album series. Going forth with dark distinctive synths and even more subtle instrumentation. As their own synopsis says, “Presenting a gear shift towards the electronic world while redefining heaviness at the same time.”

The album dives into the new age but retains classic Ocean parts that call back to their older records. Giving every single fan a chance to enjoy this record for; old, really old, new, and completely new to this band. Throughout creating their discography, they’ve tapped into themselves and found a whole new sound that is authentic. This album feels at home along with their discography. Robin Staps says, “Holocene is an appendix to the 2 Phanerozoic albums and Precambrian, or the final and concluding chapter, making it a quadrilogy if you want so”, Staps comments. “It’s tackling the holocene epoch, which is the current and shortest chapter in earth’s history, but it is essentially an album about the angst, alienation, loss of reason and critical thinking, rise of conspiracy theories and deconstruction of values in the modern age.” This album is the perfect blend of concepts in theme and tone as per usual. The album has a way of transitioning almost perfectly to each track. Something that only Pelagial has done in the same manner. Every single track is a nice smooth roller coaster climbing a steep hill to then crash into some of the heaviest crescendo in contrast. The varying and unexpected turns make this album work to its fullest potential. Especially on a first listen, Holocene is an unexpected and powerful album. Packed with melodies and instruments that aren’t just amazing but beyond entertaining. In fact every single song has a catchy part; that in the lyrics/vocals, synths, guitar, drums, and the roaring crescendo overall. Every song was stuck in my head, and to note it was pretty obvious when I was humming “Parabiosis” (The line: “Let it all begin, again”) the day after the single released.

From “Boreal” to “Subatlantic” the album is deserved of all ears. “Preboreal” is the only track that undermines the album in how I experienced it, but it is a great opener to the record in its theme, composition, and conceptual tone. The track is not to any degree worse because of it, but it lacks the Ocean’s powerful writing. The brass instruments are a highlight that I would love to have more influences in their next endeavors to come. I believe the instrumental version heightens the instruments being suppressed by the vocals. The drums are a marvel, the riffs are another. Holocene is one of, if not their best album in recent years with; creativity, originality, ingenuity, and complexity. The quirks of the Ocean’s discography has been beautifully drawn out of this album. From every single track and every single second for an instrument. This is the perfect blend of modern composition, and with the aspects of old that made and defined them as who they are. Going in depth and reviewing the album would ruin the element of surprise. This is an incredible effort for the band, yet again changing up the tone and theme for a new sound that has grown on me to overwhelming measures. Make sure to check out Holocene by The Ocean on Friday, May 19th.

Highlight Track(s): “Boreal,” “Atlantic,” and “Unconformities”