...AND OCEANS have led a rather interesting career... they seem obsessed with throwing out the rule book and leaving fans confused. From their Black Metal debut, to 99's brilliant, electronica laced "A.M.G.O.D.", these guys have always been at the forefront of Scandinavia's avantgarde movement. "Cypher" is a completely new direction.... in fact it sounds nothing like their previous work and could easily pass for a different band entirely! Instead of melodic, Techno-Black Metal, "Cypher" is grinding, cold, and industrialized.
RAMMSTEIN, SKINNY PUPPY, and even FEAR FACTORY come to mind when I listen to this... a lot of bleeps and sparse keyboard lines are layered throughout, giving the mechanized, driving songs an ethereal quality. The recent directions of peers ARCTURUS and THE KOVENANT were most likely an influence. ...AND OCEANS seem more devoted to the Industrial cause, however, as songs like "Voyage, Lost Between The Horizons, Eaten By The Distance" (what a fucking mouthful!) are almost entirely electronic. There are shades of brutal Death Metal ("Absolute Purification of Sins") and their melodic past for good measure.
The vibe on "Cypher" is pretty much cold and bleak, perpetuated by vague keyboard washes and harsh vocals. I hear a lot of PRONG (!) in the straightforward tempo, but once again, RAMMSTEIN seems to be a chief reference point. My only complaint is the stupid fucking song titles... such as "Aphelion, Light Evanescence, Into Extinction", which serve only to irritate and interfere with track distinction. Talk about pretentious.
If you were a fan of …AND OCEANS' previous work, or are into industrial at all, you might find a lot in "Cypher". Only open minds need apply, cos this is pretty hard to swallow. (Online February 13, 2003)