For all it’s worth, the debut EP by burly Chicago-based quintet, OCEANO, is a grim and sludgy piece of Americanized Deathcore. Which, depending on your preferred taste of Metal, can be a righteous joy, or an auditory earache – which, coincidentally, is the record label OCEANO is currently signed to.
Unfortunately for this reviewer, my experience leaned towards the latter.
The album, "Depths", is a case-study of the new wave of Deathcore - in tact is the prolonged, ringing dissonance; the booming double bass patterns; the angry, almost pouty, guttural exhalations. Missing is the album’s originality and muscle – a strange quality that seems so easy to miss in a genre that truly has zero boundaries.
"Depths" is a crunching ode to the mysticism and dangers of the open sea and the abominations that live below, but absent is the broil of waves, the mystery of the darkest trench, the destructive force of transcontinental currents, the majesty of alpha predators.
"Depths" can mean many things, as is stated in their liner notes, but curiously lacking are themes of what lurks within water and mind.
Akin to many a Deathcore band, OCEANO employs several muffled breakdowns that mirror the adage of ‘been there, done that’. While the grunts and growls are formidable, they are singular, repetitive, and eventually, tiring. The musicianship occasionally sheds its skin, baring sharpened teeth and ferocity, but they also lose their appeal, and again, sound ever so familiar as OCEANO’s lumbering bottom-dwelling giant runs out of air.
Songs like “With Legions,” “Empathy for the Leviathan,” and “Abysm” proffered visions of bubbling caves and feeding frenzies, but the sound of OCEANO, in spite of the album’s great production, will need to adapt to the surface world if they opt to churn out more bland, stuffed gills Deathcore.
(Online April 20, 2010)