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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 1 January 2003
I honestly cannot think of enough superlatives to describe this album; it's that good. Each song is a sprawling soundscape which draws you in and completely hooks you. Despite the relative length of the songs, they never out stay their welcome and are a perfectly judged balance between apocalyptically heavy and beautifully mellow.
The title of this album is also very appropriate; listening to this can only conjure images of vast oceans and spectacular storms. This is backed up by the excellent photography in the inlay.
When I first heard this album, I felt that the vocalist was a peripheral figure but once I listened to it several times, I began to see how his harsh scream added to the bleak nature of the heavy parts of the song. The guitar and bass work is technically very good and pedals are used to great effect, creating a wonderful atmosphere. Basically, I own a lot of albums that I'd consider to be great, and this is up there with Relationship Of Command (and several others), being as close to perfect as possible.
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on 5 May 2003
From the opening bars of 'The Beginning and the End', this album gets to you. With the ever excellent Matt Bayles (Botch, Mastodon, et al) at the controls, Isis are becoming one of the major players in heavy guitar music. The use of keyboards and more clean passages than is customary for the genre make them truly unique as a band.
A barnstorming follow up to the equally beautiful debut, Celestial, Oceanic takes the band to calmer waters(!) with perhaps a more measured approach. Fans of the first record shouldn't be disappointed with this offering as there is plenty of punch delivered throughout, but listening to the record you get a sense that the band is 'maturing', with a potent mixture of clean and heavy guitars. That isn't to say Celestial was anything other than excellent, which is what is kind of sickening about this band....
....everything about this band is and has been consistently top-notch. Like many other bands concerning themselves with body and mind (Tool and Neurosis to name but two), artwork and music tie in effortlessly to create an experience rather than a mere record. From start to finish this truly felt like a journey for me, due largely to the length of the songs, giving the band room to build and change direction at will. My outlook on writing and listening to music has been changed dramatically by this band over the last year. More a record of the heart than the mind, Oceanic will be viewed in years to come as the beginning of Isis' march to dominating this genre...
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on 29 July 2004
Isis are an amazing band, they began life as one of the most brutal slow-tempo hardcore bands on the face of the planet. With each release there sound has matured, it always seemed like they were moving toward something, and this album ladies and gentleman *is* that something. With this release, Isis have gone way beyond the boundaries of metal, and music as we know it.
I'd describe Isis's sound on this album as highly textured and progressive ambient hardcore/metal. The songs build and rise through use of gentle, beautiful melodies and harmonics, before reaching a savage sonic assault, led by Aaron turners brutal, drowned out screams. 'Weight' is the best example of this, and has to be one of the greatest songs I've ever heard, Isis somehow manage to go from extreme beauty to a full on assault seamlessly, and it's a real joy to behold.
Everyone should own this amazing album, period!
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on 25 June 2003
Having been a big fan of 'Celestial', I was quite surprised to hear how the Isis sound had changed on Oceanic. Earlier material, up to and including 'Celestial', had been unremitting in its attack, but Oceanic seems to have been a record a little more from the heart this time, with more melody and clean sections than you might expect from a downtuned metal band.
Artwork and music combine effortlessly to create the intended mood, and the production, with Matt Bayles (Mastodon/Botch etc) at the controls, really lends itself to the overall mood. This overall excellence is par for the course with this band. Opener 'The beginning and the end' smoulders after a brutal opening and develops into a thing of real beauty. 'False light' is the nearest to older Isis material, whilst other highlights include the the crescendo and climax of 'Carry' and the slowburning 10 minuter 'Weight'. Most of the songs exceed the six minute mark, a good thing for the cohesive nature of the record.
Many have compared Isis to Neurosis, which was initially a valid tag, but I think with every release, Isis are forging their own niche, and this album is a very important one in the metal genre. A thinking man's metal album if you will...
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on 10 June 2014
Isis are one of my favourite bands. This is a superb album, every bit as good as Panopticon and In The Absence Of Truth. Brilliantly atmospheric, it reaches peaks of intensity that will blow your mind!
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on 11 March 2003
Before I listened to this album, I thought that it was going to take a few listens to make a decent judgement. After all, this is the same record label that produced Fantomas, The Ruins and other bizarre music outfits. Therefore I could not believe what I had just heard when the cd finally finished. I had never heard of Isis before buying the album and had a slight impression that it would be noise metal. However I was mistaken. The music itself seemed something derived by Josh Homme. Although completely original, it tended to have a stone rock side to it that was very intelligent. The vocals however were very dark and gritty, sounding similar to mid-late eigthies metal material like Sepultura and Napalm Death. The musics basis was primarily on the instruments. The vocals came in to give it a definitive edge and power that knocked todays mainstream stuff off the ledge. Isis are a band that will bury Nu-metal if they wanted too. I am definitely going to buy more Isis material as Oceanic is one of the albums of the year. The songs are well structured and very long but as the album suggests, it just flows. Must buy!!!!
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on 2 December 2003
this album is simply the best thing since sliced bread. comparisons have been made with neurosis, but i personally think that isis are more accompished at conveying their message, and less harsh on the ear. each and every song - that is, except the inexplicable "-" and "maritime" - take you on a voyage through melody and anguish without overdoing a single facet of the two - balance is the essence of this album. the songs "carry" and "the beginning and the end" make it into my top fifteen songs ever with ease.
if you have any appreciation of heavy guitar music, this is consummate beyond anything. ever. buy it. marry the band.
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on 16 May 2008
I got this because it seemed to tick the right boxes for the sort of music i'm into at the moment (doom, drone, sludge, hardcore etc). It wasn't quite what I was expecting, and initially I was a bit disappointed. However, something made me keep listening to it, 10 - 20 times maybe ... then everything began to hang together & it began to hook me in. Now I can say without hesitation that it's really an amazing piece of work, in fact, I can't stop listening to it! Layers and levels that I didn't even suspect gradually reveal themselves, and continue to do so. I prefer to listen to it as a whole, rather than single out particular tracks - to use the cliche, it's a journey & though the lyrics might be a bit doomy (well, whaddya expect!?) the overall effect is very uplifting, simply because it's such a superb piece of music making. Some seem to rate Panopticon even more highly, and I look forward to hearing it eventually, but there's still loads of mileage for me in Oceanic & I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who's into this genre.
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on 20 February 2006
isis are influenced by neurosis but dear lord they stand alone as a band that can tear your spine apart with sheer brilliant riffs and layered melodies and built upo aggression,its a landscape of perfection,this is a class album,some will say that they aint as good as neurosis,that hardly matters,they are isis and they sledge and you gotta believe me
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on 8 August 2005
Some have said that Oceanic is far more 'poppy' than their earlier releases. True, it certainly sounds softer in places, but this is simply a sign that Isis are maturing as a band. The songs are more complex, they build slowly for several minutes before unleashing a tide of amazing sound that no other band can match.
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