The Context – Amidst upper-crust beer, chocolate, and vehicles, metal bands are a keystone export of Germany. For decades, German acts like Scorpions, Accept, and Rammstein have revolutionized the metal movement in Europe and have served as inspiration for many aspiring metalheads worldwide. The hard rock and metal scenes still thrive in the Germanic states as evidence of the rising band OCEANS.
Not to be confused with fellow German progressive metal band The Ocean, OCEANS calls the major metropolises of Berlin and Vienna home. In 2019, the German-Austrian outfit released two EPs Into the Void and Cover Me in Darkness before their full-length debut The Sun and the Cold in January 2020. The group’s post-death metal sound—a prominent, yet controversial subgenre of metal—breaches persistent feelings of despair and anger hence OCEANS’ need for a depression-induced suicide disclaimer on their official webpage.
The Content – OCEANS’ latest EP We Are Nøt Okay begins in a thrash with the titular “We Are Nøt Okay.” Andy Dörner of German metalcore band Caliban lends his vocals on the quick-twitch guitar riffs, drums, and death growls on the track. Metal royal Robb Flynn of Machine Head joins the four-piece OCEANS on the slow-burning change of pace in “Everyone I Love Is Broken.” “Voices” is a head-banger featuring a pleasant juxtaposition of sound with a softer vocal chorus featuring Lena Scissorhands of Moldovan metal band Infected Rain and hardened, persistent growls. The post-hardcore sound of “Shark Tooth” closes the record resolutely with anguished growls and assisting vocals from Christoph Wieczorek of German band annisokay.
The Skinny – The first release of 2021 for the German-Austrian metal band OCEANS is an engaging record. Akin to the lyric “this is our symphony” in the track “Shark Tooth,” We Are Nøt Okay has moments where the production and arrangement of the guitars and percussion seem symphonically-driven. Moreover, the guest vocals add volume rather than detract or distract from the musical output of the record. With its ultimately uplifting stance on depression advocacy and solid musicality, the We Are Nøt Okay EP from OCEANS is a bold selection that should further propel the metal band domestically and internationally.
The Rating – 6.5/10
We Are Nøt Okay – EP
- We Are Nøt Okay (feat. Andy Dörner)
- Everyone I Love Is Broken (feat. Robb Flynn)
- Voices (feat. Lena Scissorhands)
- Shark Tooth (feat. Christoph Wieczorek)