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Ocean Chief – Universums Härd

Published:

Last Updated on 07:32 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Sludge
Country: Sweden
Label: I Hate Records
Year: 2014

From all the releases by I Hate that I was called to do a review of, this is the one that I found the most intriguing. I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about Ocean Chief before, but this release drove me to look them up. On their previous four releases, the band was playing monolithic, low-tempo sludge and their songs lasted for at least ten minutes. And they were good at what they did.

It’s obvious that on “Universums Ηärd”, the band is trying to take a turn regarding its sound. Although they are still playing sludge, the speed is increased a bit (we’re talking about sludge so that means mid-tempo), the duration of the songs is shorter (which means that on this album, the ten-minute song is the longest one), making the final outcome easier to listen to for more people. And once again they’re good at what they do. More important, they didn’t degenerate while trying to become more approachable to a new audience. They evolved but at the same time they kept all the distinctive characteristics of their music.
You wouldn’t call them original or innovative but Ocean Chief is definitely not one of those bands that shamelessly steal other bands’ music and then introduce this as “influences”. They will definitely remind you of the incredible The Melvins and other bands such as Bongripper, Ufomammut and Eyehategod while the use of keyboards adds a unique touch to their music.

Tobias Larsson is doing a great job at both of the tasks he has taken on (drums, vocals), since on the one hand he uses some pretty clever rhythm patterns and on the other hand he’s not just another sludge singer who holds a microphone and screams. The album’s production is also something that made a very good impression on me. The sound is huge and organic but not in a way that will make your speakers distort.

In general, “Universums Ηärd” is a really enjoyable album to listen to from start to finish and in case you want to check the band out, I would recommend you to listen to the title track first. It’s a really strong song which combines the band’s different time periods in the best way possible.

4,5/6

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