Oceans Ate Alaska is not only an amazing name for a band, but it also conjures an image of epic proportion, a massive territory getting omnomnom-ed by the biggest ocean on this planet. That sets the bar out of reach for most bands who try to djent and jenjenjen but whose screams are mere whispers, kittens verses the Yellow Ranger’s Sabertooth Tiger Dinozord.
Oceans Ate Alaska’s music gets a little bonkers. Tempos tend to push the speed limit, rhythms jerk you around resulting in whiplash, and the dissonance of some of the guitar harmonizes make your ears hallucinate kaleidoscope sounds, prisms upon prisms upon pinch harmonics and sub drops. Their new album Hikari, which means “light” in Japanese – something I searched online using a new search engine I’ve found called Duck Duck Go which gave me results to ALL kinds of crazy, so beware – utilizes a lot of cool production and instruments from outside of the typical “metal” sound. Transitions between heavy, techy riffs features themes played by what I’m guessing might be a koto, a traditional Japanese 17-stringed musical instrument. With so many strings, it must djent pretty hard, amirite??
Hikari is super gnarly. The creativity of the riffs is Walt Disney on ice level sensational. Guitar enthusiasts will be pleased while drummers might turn to stone, for some of the drum parts sound borderline inhuman. If it wasn’t for the fact that Chris Turner crushes it live, I would have assumed it was all programmed. OH – and there’s a dual drum solo feature w/ Josh Manuel from Issues, if I’m not mistaken, something I haven’t heard on a metal record… like ever.
One aspect of the album that I noticed, one which I was initially on the fence about but now that I’ve listened to the album cover to cover a hundred times am kind of into, is the sudden dynamics shift between SUPER IN YOUR FACE AGGRO to minimalist, airy… dare I sound like a huge snob and compare it to the early ikebana art form known as “kuge,” something I JUST now learned about while looking for Japanese things to compare Hikari to. *dab* If Hikari was a sushi roll, your head would explode. I’ll just leave it at that.
Hikari Track Listing:
Run Time: 35:27
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Check out the band’s video for the song “Escapist”