OCEANHOARSE popped onto our radar a handful of years ago, when legendary Finnish guitarist Ben Varon announced the parting of ways of AMORAL and later the formation of the aforementioned new band. Considering the stylistic changes AMORAL underwent when their singers changed, we were curious to know what sort of music OCEANHOARSE would play, and were pleasantly surprised to find them on the old-school heavy metal train. After seeing them perform live on a couple of occasions, we found it well worth our while to give the EP a listen.
The EP starts out with “Stitches,” a traditional blasting heavy metal track with hints of thrash. It’s a powerful song that’s equal parts hard-hitting and melodic, with Joonas Kosonen‘s strong vocals and Ben Varon‘s shredding as highlights. “Death Row Center” was familiar to us already, and this song has vocal parts that are reminiscent of both Myles Kennedy [ALTER BRIDGE] and Björn Strid [SOILWORK]. The guitars have a bit of a BODOM feel and we already know that this is a pretty great song for headbanging live.
Next up is their cover of SLIPKNOTs “Duality.” We had a brief preview of this at Ääniwalli in early October as they played it during their warm-up set for CYHRA. It sounded great live then and on the album it also sounds pretty darn good. I’ve personally only got passing familiarity of the original, but this feels very much like OCEANHOARSE have done it justice, while still maintaining their own style and sound.
“Feed the Sirens” is another familiar song, as these guys had already released it as a single. This track features relentless drums from Oskari Niemi and catchy melodies combined with those strong vocals that again have a bit of a Strid vibe in the higher notes. Finally, we have “Maze of Death,” which again we first caught as they tested it out live at Ääniwalli. Very much a moshpit song, this is definitely a high energy, thrashing sort of song and maybe works a bit better live.
It’s hard to not appreciate this EP. Though I wasn’t sold at first, with continued listening, the little moments have me coming back to these songs again and again, humming them when I’m not paying attention. The lack of excessive production or backing symphonics or keys is a point in their favor, as they let skilled and controlled execution of the basics (vocals, guitar, bass, and drums) speak for them and their sound. It’s rather surprising that no labels have snapped them up yet.
Written by Bear Wiseman
- Death Row Center
- Duality (Slipknot cover)
- Feed the Sirens
- Maze of Death
Ben Varon – guitars
Jyri Helko – bass
Joonas Kosonen – vocals
Oskari Niemi – drums