Oceans Ate Alaska: the name just exclaims metalcore, doesn’t it? If you’ve heard their name at all in the past, it might be from their cover of Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love” on Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6. And if you heard it, then you have a little taste of what’s to come in their debut album, Lost Isles. And if you don’t know them at all, then just brace yourself for the ride.
If you’re going to listen to Oceans Ate Alaska for the first time, the things you’ll notice right away (apart from common metalcore tropes) are the frenzied pace of the music. It’s intentionally and successfully disorienting, confusing and even sometimes disconcerting. The closest thing it reminds me of would possibly be mathcore, but I think I would be hard-pressed to call Lost Isles anything other than metalcore. Nevertheless, Lost Isles is a non-stop array of off time signatures, dissonant fret-tapping and energized drums resulting in a huge compilation of organized chaos.
“Blood Brothers” opens the album and was also the first released single from Lost Isles. Everything you need to know is in this one single. After a short section of blasting and double picking, even with a little melody, we get thrown right into a breakdown that toys around with your expectations. The track does a good job giving a little overture for the rest of the album, and it’s almost fully revealed in just the first minute of “Blood Brothers.” My favorite track on the album is “Downsides”; it’s one of the slightly slower tracks that has a slightly larger emphasis on melody. But it also shows just how intricate Chris Turner’s drumming really is. It’s probably the most important contributor to the frenetic feel of Lost Isles.
Now, bear in mind, the reason I’ve been harping on the chaotic nature of this album so much is because that is what the bulk of the album has to offer. As far as metalcore goes, it’s a lot more of a challenging listen than say, an Asking Alexandria album (not to say one is better than the other, but it is to say one is easier on the ears than the other). The only moments of respite we get are the clean vocals and slower melodic passages like on “Floorboards”, which are really the only moments we get to remind us we’re listening to metalcore. In fact, those moments in the songs are really what helps to separate the tracks from each other, or else Lost Isles might be just one big blob of electricity.
Whether or not you’re going to like this album boils down to how much you enjoy metalcore. This is not the sort of album for people who predominantly enjoy a little more brutality or evil in their metal. As a matter of fact, I don’t expect first impressions on Lost Isles to be very favorable at all. It definitely can come off as just a little noisey and just crazy for the sake of crazy. But when you understand the sort of sound and feel that Oceans Ate Alaska is trying to put out, you realize that they do a damn good job at it, and you can either leave it at that or listen to more. Personally, I quite like it. Lost Isles is a really refreshing release in the world of new metalcore, and I think Oceans Ate Alaska is going to have a good run.
"Vultures and Sharks"