|Rock/ Alternative/ Metal/ Punk|
5 Silhouettes, their backlit bodies moving frenetically in front of the monstrous LED lighting rigs, flashing synchronized to every little change in the music: watching THE OCEAN perform live is an experience. The videos, the lighting and more than anything, the music - orchestral, dense and epic - all contribute to that certain atmosphere that sets THE OCEAN apart from most of their peers in the ...realm of modern day's heavy music. The lynch-esque play with darkness and dynamics make it easy for the listener to get lost in the dismal oceanic spheres.
The band originated in 2001, when mainman Robin Staps leased the basement of a former aluminum factory from World War II in the heart of Berlin-Kreuzberg. After a few weeks of daily construction work, “Oceanland” was born – a large underground complex of recording studio and sleeping rooms, where many members of THE OCEAN would spend the larger part of the upcoming few years of their lives. The band's live show was conceptualized and improved here, and over the years, a collective of musicians from classical as well as rock music backgrounds formed around Staps. Four albums were recorded at Oceanland, before the band was evicted from the place in 2008.
It's pointless to try to recall every past member of The Ocean. There must have been about 30-40 in total. Nobody remembers all of them. Some may have died or sunk into alcoholism; others may still be alive but have just mysteriously disappeared at some point, even during tours...
It's not hard to see why when you try to imagine the conditions of the band's first tours. I remember attending their show at an anarchist's trailer park in Osnabrück, Germany, on a grim February night in 2002. One of them crushed his ankle when his leg got stuck between 2 planks of the pallet-stage in the non-heated tent. The 12 punks in the audience didn't give a shit. After the show, one of them was so drunk that he fell asleep only a few inches next to the campfire outside and almost burned to death. I remember a show in Torun, Poland, with an audience attendance of two people, one of them being the bar owner... I remember waking up in a 20m2-room with 15 other people, next to a drunk ex-band member who had pissed all over himself, and myself, while we had both been asleep...
Despite all these initial hardships and the ever-changing lineup, the ocean collective have released 4 critically acclaimed studio albums over the course of the past 6 years. Praise of their latest 80 minutes concept-opus “Precambrian” has spread like wildfire in the community:
"Epic in scope and flawless in execution, 'Precambrian' reinforces The Ocean as one of the most exciting names in modern heavy music. Behold mind-blowing metal on a wagnerian scale", ROCK SOUND (UK) cheered.
"Ambitious and epic, dense and orchestral, the latest album from Germany's premier thinking man's metal collective The Ocean features a dizzying array of musical and vocal styles, from Mastodonian prog jags and Fear Factory jackhammer blasts to ethereal electronics and florid classical instrumentations", AMP (USA) added, and DECIBEL (USA) found the album to be "…engrossing to the point where words don't necessarily matter. The Ocean do for earth science class what Mastodon did for Melville: make learning brutal".
After close to 400 shows all over the world, supporting bands like OPETH, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, CULT OF LUNA and ISIS and successful headlining tours in Europe and the US, the addition of vocalist Loic Rossetti marks the final step in a recent development within the band: after 8 years of existence, THE OCEAN has transformed from a collective into a band.
This doesn't mean that there will not be changes of line-up ever again: "I have been playing music long enough to know that people are usually in this for a limited time", comments Staps... "but the people I am working with now are the people I have always been looking for, and naturally, everyone else is much more involved than ever before".
Rossetti replaces Nico Webers, who joined War From A Harlot's Mouth, and Mike Pilat, who left the band because he did not want to let touring be an integral part of his life anymore. However, the collective is not dead. As a matter of fact, the upcoming album will feature the largest number of additional musicians to date, mainly classical players. With 4 Swiss band members, THE OCEAN has found a new home in the highest city of Europe, La-Chaux-de-Fonds - although Staps still lives in Berlin. The band has spent the better part of the year working feverishly on their upcoming 2 albums which are due for April and October 2010 releases on Metal Blade Records.