In a world where stress problems and lack of energy can be resolved with a few pills, it is important to take a step back and realize this is not a long-term solution. Mental health is not something you can patch with a Band-Aid or a self-care day off; it is more important than that. We have to take care of our mental health just as much as we take care of our physical well-being. This is, in short, the message that German post metal band OCEANS brought to our attention with the EP, “We Are Nøt Okay.” The EP came out on April 30th, 2021, via Nuclear Blast.
This EP packs quite a punch, both lyrically as well as musically, during its 16-minute runtime. Dealing with the harsh realities of mental illness, these songs paint vivid portraits of the struggle many of us endure silently day by day. The title track is especially poignant in its depiction of how depression work. It shows how the people around us can’t see it because physically there’s nothing wrong with us. Boosted by a melodic chorus that contrasts with the harsh vocals in the verses and supported by a groovy bass line, metalcore anthem “We Are Nøt Okay” is as intense as it is heartbreaking. Guest vocalist Andy Dörner (CALIBAN) adds some shouts that fit perfectly with the increase in energy and tension, making this song a real banger.
A bit more sedate and calm “Everyone I Love Is Broken” feels like a dark lullaby carried forward by melodic cleans, chugging guitars, and pounding drums. This song raises a serious question that needs a serious answer, namely what does it say about this world when more and more people around us are broken? The gloomy mood fits well with not just the lyrical content, but also with the rather somber delivery. The heavy chorus is sure to make quite an impact.
Up next, “Voices” is quite an aggressive and brutal track, with interesting vocal layering and powerful guitar lines. INFECTED RAIN’s vocalist Lena Scissorhands adds a bit of sweetness and calm to the music with her soft vocals. Overall, it’s a pretty powerful and dynamic track. Lyric-wise, it deals with those negative voices that make things seem worse than they really are. The song manages to capture this mindset really well. To end on a lighter note, “Shark Tooth” is as groovy as it is silly. It has some thundering guitars, electronic beats, and playful melodies. Christopher Wieczorek’s vocals make everything even more memorable.
Swaying between nu metal, modern metal, and even some instances of death metal, “We Are Nøt Okay” has a varied soundscape. It pulls you in different directions. It showcases not just musical maturity from a band that released its debut effort at the beginning of 2020, but also depth and clarity. Music is a great catalyst for intense emotions and “We Are Nøt Okay” can be quite cathartic in this respect, offering a genuine perspective on mental illness and its toll on the body, mind, and soul.
Written by Andrea Crow
1. We Are Nøt Okay (ft. Andy Dörner)
2. Everyone I Love Is Broken (ft. Robb Flynn)
3. Voices (ft. Lena Scissorhands)
4. Shark Tooth (ft. Christoph Wieczorek)
Timo Rotten – vocals, guitar
Patrick Zarske – guitar
Thomas Winkelmann – bass
J.F. Grill – drums