So there I was, just sitting around minding my own business and I get this message notifying me that I needed to do a review of a three way split. No big deal, I thought, as I have dealt with splits before and normally it’s standard fair. However, this time something was different….amiss you might say. As I began to dig around for some information about the bands I realized that every band on here is basically the same people.
I know…..what the hell.
Now …AND OCEANS has never been known to be, well let’s say conventional, releasing album after album and having none that were similar. Even the members, each with their three million other aliases, have always been a little…odd. So let your good old friend Sam break down the situation on this split release. And it goes a little something like this….kick it.
Ok, HAVOC UNIT is the new …AND OCEANS. That’s right….AND OCEANS no longer exists. Apparently they haven’t use the AND OCEANS name since 2005 and the (non-remixed) song found on this split, Yerushalayim Érez HaQodes, is their last song as AND OCEANS. So what that leaves is THE SIN:DECAY which I guess, is a side project from someone…or some people from …AND OCEANS: making this split release one giant …AND OCEANS family picnic.
Ok, so you got it?
The crowd demands music…..and music you shall get. To sum up in a sentence: this is a weird beast.
We’ll begin with HAVOC UNIT and their brand of Psychedelic-Techno-War-Metal with explosive bass drums and machine gun snares, “With Discipline Upon Mankind” blows your head off. After the rather unsettling sample, it’s aggressive…very aggressive, perhaps if ZYKLON, RED HARVEST and DIESLEBOY had a love child it would come out to be something akin to HAVOC UNIT. The use of a sample of a Preacher throughout the song makes a very bizarre listening experience for sure. The following song “Regime Equinox (No Xivic Remix)” continues along the path of Dark Ambient/Electronica with its use of heavy bass and distant samples. The last HAVOC UNIT song is the (near) danceable “Mvsn (ATYD Remix)” which has a great use of synths and drum machine work throughout.
…AND OCEANS can be summed up in one word: weak. Not bad, just weak, as “Yerushalayim Érez HaQodes” is just a passable song (no matter how fucking unsettling the video is) that doesn’t really ever pick up, it just remains a little too monotone. Same goes for both of the remixes as neither of them are really anything special. “Tophet (Niko Skorpio Remix)” is just synths over creepy low end vibes. Scary? Sort of. Boring? Very much so. I mean if I want creepy music I’ll go for some Akira Yamaoka over this Finn any day. A quick plug here though, Niko’s THERGOTHON is one fantastic Funeral Doom band that can really kick your mind in, whereas his THIS EMPTY FLOW is a bit more Goth/Doom/Ambient that is mighty in its own right. Moving on though, to the ultra boring “Ha-Shoah” done by the Art Video/Noise Making/Industrial Rhythm Group ATYD, once again not bad…just extremely bland, and I’m not making these statements because I’m “unqualified” or “uncivilized” to the ways of Ambient, no I’m making these statements based on the fact that I have principles.
THE SIN:DECAY is probably the biggest curveball on this split. “We Are All Slaves” starts off with a super poppy beat and down tuned guitars thrown in the mix. It comes off as a song that could be the background for one of those gay Anime Tributes found on Youtube. However, is does not stay gay, as it quickly moves into a LACUNA COIL/THE CURE/TYPE O NEGATIVE electronic hybrid. Now yes this song sounds very Poppy but hey it could be worse….and besides it’s got this evil PET SHOP BOYS vibe going on. “Celestial Revulsion” is a chip off the old (new) SAMAEL block, mixing heavy guitars with futuristic space beats and synths with little choir undertones thrown in but the difference here is that SAMAEL does it extremely well. This is not to say THE SIN:DECAY pulls it off horribly, as it is a quite a competent song. “c76i8k76” on the other hand, is just boring frequency/static/fuzz mixed in with synths/drums/vocals. Boring…and not to mention pretty gay too. Stick to the retro sounding-yet futuristic sounding space jam you’ve got going on so well THE SIN:DECAY. It works.
So who wins on this split? HAVOC UNIT easily. They pull off some insane stuff and I really can’t wait until a full length comes out, you know without any remixes or anything, just with that straight up War-Techno thing they do oh so well. A close second comes THE SIN:DECAY because it’s pretty interesting what this one guy can do, it’s not Metal, but it’s still cool. And falling in last by a long shot is …AND OCEANS, which is odd but I guess they picked a good time to retire the name. I wish though, that the boys from ...AND OCEANS would’ve just dropped their last single and came out full force with the righteous HAVOC UNIT, instead of coming out with one song and a batch of remixes. However I am glad I found THE SIN:DECAY as the man does make the Electronica fan in me (which is a big part) smile quite a bit.
I just wish the length of the actual songs was longer as opposed to the remixes being the main bulk. Oh well, here’s to the debut of HAVOC UNIT.
(Online July 18, 2007)