Sound — 9
I came across Oceansize as the support act for Porcupine Tree and was very impressed. This is their debut album and they released a second album this year entitled Everybody Into Position. This particular album is an impressive piece of work. It fits into a similar genre of music as Porcupine Tree or Katatonia and you can tell they're influenced by similar bands. Essentially I suppose it would get lumped into the 'prog-rock/alt-metal' category, and as with many bands who get labelled in this way, they have a pretty unique sound. Oceansize have 3 guitarists which gives them the freedom to experiment with layers of sound and play them off against each other, and as such many of the tracks here are dynamically interesting and intense. Catalyst, one of the stand-out tracks and my personal favourite, makes use of this with a jumpy intro and dual riffs with a clean guitar melody played over the top, it makes for an interesting listen. And the 9-minute track Massive Bereavement also demonstrates several different styles. It's quite a disjointed track, skipping from clean and melodic parts to all-out triple guitar distorted riffs. All in all, the album has a real power behind it all the way through, even the more melodic tracks maintain an intensity about them which keeps you listening. I'm impressed by the sound of this, especially since it was their debut full-length album and it's deserving of a 9/10. My only minor complaint is that occasionally you can't really hear the bassist at all or the heaviness of the riffs drowns out the clean melodic leads, this would have bene overcome in the production of the album by a more experienced band but since this was their debut album, that's to be expected now and then. The fact that despite that small issue it's still very well produced and sounds pretty much great throughout is enough to warrant a high score.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics aren't given with the album sleeve but most of them can be worked out. On the whole the lyrics are decent, but more often it's the music which keeps you listening. The vocalist is, however, very versatile. He has a strong melodic voice (which sounds great when complimented with the backing vocals) and can get some good power behind it for the heavier or more aggressive parts of the songs. So hsi performance on this can't really be faulted. One thing I did like is the almost robotic and automated-sounding drone on 'One Day All This Could Be Yours'. It sounds very different but really holds the song together well. This might be their debut but this guy knows how to use his voice to good effect, he sounds like he's been doing it for years.
Overall Impression — 9
This album isn't perhaps as complex or thought provoking as other bands of this genre but is a sign of great things to come from a pretty new band. There seems to be emphasis on simple-but-effective and using many layers of sound to give that diversity and texture to the music which keeps it interesting and fresh. In my opinion the most impressive tracks would be Catalyst, Massive Bereavement and Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs, and all three are solid demonstrations of the band's various talents and styles of songwriting and playing, but after a few listens you lose the impression of them being stand-out tracks and really appreciate it as a solid album throughout.