REVIEW: Oceans – Hell Is Where the Heart Is – Part 2: Longing EP

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Instead of releasing their new studio album in one go, the up-and-coming Austro-German metalcore bunch, OCEANS, divided their eight new tracks into two EPs. The first one, “Hell is Where the Heart Is Vol. 1: Love,” was released in January, this year, and the second installment, entitled “Hell Is Where the Heart Is Vol.2: Longing,” came out on July 29th, 2022. While both mini offerings are deeply drenched in melancholy and hopelessness, this latter take on the subject matter resonates, on occasion, with the air of there being maybe a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel – before crushing such optimism with an iron fist, all at once. Maybe it is like one German philosopher once said, “to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” The band postulates its somewhat similar, grim message with their trademark onslaught of modern metalcore that is a mixture of various metal subgenres with prefixes ranging from “post” to “nu.” One moment, OCEANS comes off like the musical kindred spirit of KORN from some dystopian parallel universe, and the next you know, you’ll be bulldozed by a metalcore hurricane in the spirit of vintage BRING ME THE HORIZON. While these newcomers do risk sounding a bit emo-ish here and there on their new EP, it is easy to see why OCEANS are considered rising stars in the modern metal playground in Europe. This 4-track offering, along with the first installment in the series, celebrates their recent signing to the pedigree metal label, Nuclear Blast, and stands as a rather impressive entrée onto the stage of modern metal.

The EP kicks off with a brief intro bearing the subheading, “Longing.” It clocks in barely at the 1-minute mark, so the EP is, in fact, comprised of only three new, actual songs. The intro is yet another somewhat clichéd, cinematic sound collage but it leads into the first proper song, “Home,” rather nicely. It, in turn, is probably to blame for the subtle emo vibes on the outing, what with the almost pop-punkish scream-along chorus.

What makes the EP stand out in the band’s favor is the track “I Want to Be Whole Again.” Here, these metal younglings plunge deeper into the nu-metal realms, while making sure that the choruses remain easy to sing along to. As it happens, KORN showed earlier this year – with their fantastic new studio album – that the nu-metal genre still has plenty of mileage in it. With their new EP, OCEANS show a good deal of promise that, one day, they may drop a genuine killer of a nu-metal full-length if they would so choose.

The EP ends with a tad more brutal riff punch-up, entitled “Living=Dying.” It sets a nice balance between its catchy nu-metal moments and all the raw, almost deathcore-brutal sonic jabs. Yes, these metal ruffians know how to pack quite a punch, I would say. So, despite the fact that the EP comes jam-packed with only three new tracks, the songcraft and delivery are consistently so excellent that, if bands such as AVIANA or SILVERCORD rub you the right way, not to mention all those nu-metal and metalcore acts that we cherish, I would seriously recommend checking this offering out ASAP.

Written by Jani Lehtinen

Tracklist

  1. Longing
  2. Home
  3. I Want To Be Whole
  4. Living=Dying

Lineup

Timo Rotten – vocals, guitars

Patrick Zarske – guitars

Thomas Winkelmann – bass

J.F. Grill – drums

Label

Nuclear Blast

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