It’s no secret that we love OCEANHOARSE and all of their wild ideas, the most recent of which was releasing their debut album with material from their live tour with Marko Hietala from earlier in 2020 as opposed to recording it in a studio. At first the idea seems insane – albums are simply not made that way: Yet when asked “why not?” there is simply no good answer and for a live-oriented band like OCEANHOARSE, it might even been ingenious. Set for release on June 5th, 2020, fans will finally get to hear the first album entitled “The Damage is Done – LIVE!”
I was surprised to find an intro track on the album before I remembered that, while pure heavy metal bands may not often use intros on their albums, they still use them in live shows. The intro is somewhat industrial-sounding, intriguing, and generally just kind of cool with a strong beat, guitar echoes, and kicks straight into the first track.
The album then opens with three familiar songs from the “Voluntary Bends“ EP from 2019, which we had already been enjoying last year. If it’s possible to consider these songs in some way held back on the album, they have been unleashed in the live renditions. “Feed the Sirens” has great guitar lines backing up the singalong-able chorus. It was a great track before, it was a great track live, and now it’s a great not-so-studio album track as well.
Kosonen shouting, “We are Oceanhoarse and we play heavy fucking metal,” is included at the beginning of “Fading Neons,” including fierce encouragement for the crowd to get loud. Ben Varon‘s solos are really great while the rhythm section keeps things fresh. The energy has really come alive in the live iterations of these songs and if listeners and live viewers have been enjoying the EP as much as we have, they will no doubt be thrilled to hear these tracks with even more energy and power. The familiar songs then end with “Death Row Center,” at least for a while. Some of Kosonen‘s speeches introduce this track and the main riff really came alive on tour and you can just imagine the crowd with their fists in the air.
The first new track is “Waves,” which slows things down into a grittier, heavier tone, more fist-pounding than moshing and the crowd can be heard shouting “rise” when prompted. It’s fun to hear Kosonen‘s speeches about bass hero Jyri Helko and guitar legend Ben Varon before hearing their solos, giving the release some extra flavor. And can I just interject a moment to say, how cool is it that this album includes live solos as standalone tracks? That’s so different and unique that I just can’t help but love it. It should come as no surprise that the solos are great either.
“The Damage” was released recently as a single; it was a great choice with the strong opening guitar lines and Oskari Niemi‘s rock solid drumming, done with class and not just a few clever fills. Of course, they’ve been playing their cover of “Duality” by SLIPKNOT for a while now so naturally it was included in the album live. It’s tight, what can I say? They do a great job of this classic metal track.
The newer songs, with the exception of “Waves,” are mostly bringing up the tail end of the album, saving the surprises for last. “Submersed” is the name of Varon‘s guitar solo, introduced at the end of “Duality.” “The Intruder” has ominous guitars that bring MEGADETH to mind with the ample use of stylish whammy bar. Kosonen‘s vocals remain powerful with just the right amount of grit.
The album closes – very appropriately – with the live closer and title track, “The Oceanhoarse.” It’s a perfect live track with its singalong-able “all hail, all hail the oceanhoarse” vocals and classic heavy metal riffing. Surely, this is the song where their mascot must have been making its appearance during this tour.
We’ve been waiting for this album for a while now and OCEANHOARSE did not disappoint. Keeping the scene fresh with their quirky take on how to be a band doesn’t stop them from creating pure, powerful heavy metal made for and delivered in live format. Rest assured that if they have an album release gig (or stream), we’ll be there!
Written by Bear Wiseman
- Feed the Sirens
- Fading Neons
- Death Row Center
- Bass solo
- The Damage
- Duality (Slipknot cover)
- The Intruder
- The Oceanhoarse
Joonas Kosonen – vocals
Ben Varon – guitars
Jyri Helko – bass
Oskari Niemi – drums
GALLERY: 3.3.2023 Amorphis @ Logomo, Turku
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