Born into the world only 4 years ago, Ocean Of Grief have unveiled their first full-length album and a bold declaration of their musicianship along with it. This Greek sixpiece showed promise from the get go, and the band have gone the extra step in their career to polish the small rough edges surrounding their 2016 EP, Fortress of My Dark Self, to emerge with an extremely impressive debut LP.
What does Nightfall’s Lament offer us? It is a slice of melodic death doom at premium level – a gorgeous soundscape of keyboards underlying consistently powerful guitars and a steady tempo. There are some impressive and intelligent riffs in the rhythm section as well. This record is patient, cataclysmic, and honest in its intent. The music is a steady ride along the brooding abyss of omnipotent emotive metal and is an appeasing reward for anyone looking for a fresh fix off of this intense genre.
It hones in on some of the mightier predecessors of the melodic category. The guitar leads are reminiscent of those spell binding Steven Wilson-produced guitar leads on Opeth‘s Blackwater Park, and the musical tone has much in common with the heavily somber workings of bands like Alcest. Nightfall’s Lament is a purist offspring of the sub-genre, uncompromising, and undiluted by any other influence. It is a textbook embodiment on how this type of doom is conceived, played, and produced proficiently.
Alterations of moods between songs are indeed present, albeit a little subtle. The opening moments to first track, “In Bleakness”, adequately sets a deep and mildly melancholy tone, but is uplifted by the slightly more jubilant “Eyes of Oblivion.” We get a bit of more of a change in pace halfway into the album at “Fiend of the Overlord.” As can be heard from the get-go, the drum beats in this song are a little mightier, and from here on in the music becomes a tad more epic, mysterious and, in some cases, sinister. “The Breeding of Death” in particular contains some clever and engaging moments, and the sign off of “The Release of the Soul” almost goads the listener into a replay just to give the mind and ears a chance to cover all the things missed first time around.
The only detectable negative is that there seems to be a slightly jagged relationship between the vocals and the music. The growling is strong, consistent and powerfully delivered. But during the album, one does tend to wonder if this voice belongs in a more musically abrasive doom outfit, in placement of something a little more harmonious to the specific brand of melodic doom on offer here.
And that is not really a criticism at all because it is purely a matter of opinion. “Painting My Sorrow” is at least one example where the hat fits a lot better. Charalobos Babis Oikonomopoulos’ vocals are solid however you decide to perceive them.
This new Ocean of Grief album exemplifies an age in the subterranean realms of heavy music where the production is molded on a death/doom record with the same layered care of any technical or djent album. Nightfall’s Lament is therefore an engaging success for both band and listener, and worth the time it takes to sit back and soak it all in.
Notable tracks: “In Bleakness”; “Fiend of the Overlord”; “The Breeding of Death”
FFO: Opeth, Alcest, Enshine