The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Rating: 3.5/5
Released: 2018
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Band line-up:

Loïc Rossetti,
Robin Staps,
David Ramis Åhlfeldt,
Mattias Hägerstrand,
Paul Seidel


1. The Cambrian Explosion
2. Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence
3. Ordovicium: The Glaciation of Gondwana
4. Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions
5. Devonian: Nascent
6. The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse
7. Permian: The Great Dying


The Ocean are a Berlin based metal band. Since forming in 2001, they have released 7 critically acclaimed studio albums and a split EP with Japanese post-rock heroes Mono. Through their extensive touring with bands such as Opeth and Mastodon, the band have become famous for their intense, mind-expanding live performances. They have even played in remote places such as Siberia and Ecuador. Their just released 8th studio album ‘Phanerozoic I’, began to be recorded in 2018 and its follow up ‘Phanerozoic II’ will be released in 2020.

These guys may have performed with prog metal superstars, but their material isn’t on the same level. Whilst their prolonged instrumental sections make pleasing listening for a while, with their harmonies that are reasonably adventurous and far from just simple power chord ideas, they often become tiring. It’s not just the ‘lonely’ chord progressions and such that are sometimes dull, the vocal melodies are often typical and unspectacular. That’s a shame because The Ocean are capable of so much more. Their hypnotic vocals lines are sometimes outstanding, especially in ‘Devonian Nascent’ and ‘Permian The Great Dying’. Maynard James Keenan himself couldn’t do better.

Perhaps the singer’s screams don’t really add anything to the music, and only the cleanly sung melodies should be left. Slipknot’s shouty vocalist can get away without singing notes because the music behind him is so wild and exciting. The music with The Ocean could really do with some more interesting and adrenaline pumping drum work if they’re trying to sound edgy and aggressive. Furthermore, the Berliner frontman doesn’t sing with Corey Taylor’s passion, either. Making matters worse, he has tendencies to scream the same ‘note’ over and over. That can be frustrating to hear, though fans of Meshuggah will most likely be able to tolerate if not enjoy the style.

In conclusion, this album is arguably a mixed bag. If you have no problem with music that stays in the same place for rather long periods of time, this album is probably for you. If you like lots of action however, this album will be harder to get into. It certainly has great things to wait for, as do the supergroup Tool, but don’t expect their level of creativity and ability to compose all time classics. Despite all the flaws, Phanerozoic is still recommended listening.

Review by Simon Wiedemann