Birth Eater starts out with an energetic thrash metal riff that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the record. The half-time breakdown in “Breather II” features that super fast double-kick drum sound that provides the heart of many hardcore songs these days while the vocals don’t really do anything to set Oceana apart from their peers.

Nevertheless, once “The Family Disease” comes on, it manages to turn this record up from ‘mediocre’ to bordering on epic. The guitars sound like they’re beening played through about ten chorus and overdrive pedals, creating a wall of sound that provides the perfect backdrop to the lead vocals. This song is genuinely brilliant, and makes you want to sing along even though you don’t know the words yet.

The rest of the album seems to flit between these two sides. There’s nothing at all wrong with screeching hardcore metal, but there’s just so many bands around right now doing it that it’s difficult to be memorable enough to stand out from the crowd. But Oceana provide glimpses of pure excellence on this record, and it’s a great effort.

By “Boneworks” it’s all starting to feel a little samey, though. The songs seem to be around the same tempo, and while it’s great to have loud, in-your-face songs, it starts to feel almost overwhelming. “The Abortion Plan” brings it down a notch, providing a moment of welcome relief. The strong beats keep it powerful, and while the melody of the chorus does sound a bit like what you’ve already heard in a previous song, it’s still good.

The album closes with “Devil Walk, God Walk (Heaven Walk, Hell Walk)”. It’s quite daring for a band to put a 9 minute song on any album, and Oceana almost manage to pull it off. It’s definitely a good song, and around the 5:20 mark it becomes almost ethereal in a way that even Trent Reznor might enjoy. It then jumps right back into epic-mode with a big sing-along chorus, which unfortunately fades out before it really has time to make too much of an impact.

According to a blog post on their MySpace page, Oceana disbanded back in June, which really makes this album worth checking out as part of their legacy. All in all, Birth Eater is a solid record and inspires promise that Oceana could well have become pretty huge.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Breather II
02. The Family Disease
03. The Constrictor
04. Dead Speaker
05. Mother Love
06. In Birth
07. Boneworks
08. The Abortion Plan
09. BOA
10. I Came As Dust (I Left As Dust)
11. The Spine Collection
12. Devil Walk, God Walk (Heaven Walk, Hell Walk)

Run Time: 46:36