Our Oceans -
While Time Disappears

(CD 2020, 49:25, Long Beach Records (SPV)

The tracks:
  1- Unravel(4:49)
  2- Weeping Lead(5:04)
  3- The Heart's Whisper(5:30)
  4- Motherly Flame(5:34)
  5- Passing By(4:42)
  6- Face Them(5:28)
  7- Your Take(6:58)
  8- You Take(5:23)
  9- With Hands Torn Open(5:59)

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This review starts with a little confession, until the end of 2019 I hadn't heard of Our Oceans. Normally you would say that this isn't a big deal. But as a self-proclaimed collector of Dutch progressive rock this is a little embarrassing. When I found this band, during a random search on the internet, I was amazingly surprised by the sound of the band. I immediately complemented my collection.

In my opinion the sound of Our Oceans is rather unique within the Dutch progressive rock scene. It is very melancholic, sometimes very down but it has also very heavy intermezzos. Their music lingers between these different atmospheres, which makes it tensive.

Our Oceans has the following line-up: Tymon Kruidenier (guitar and vocals), Robin Zielhorst (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Yuma van Eekelen (drums). All those who only love progressive rock with very melodic keyboards can skip this review. Our Oceans has certainly melodic parts, but they are always on the dark side of the musical spectrum.

Most readers love it to have a frame of reference where a bands fits in. The frame that first came up to me was Muse. In my humble opinion Our Oceans and Muse have certain interfaces. Not only do both bands operate as a trio, but they also both use different soundscapes to connect the different parts in their tracks.
When I read the reviews of colleagues also Pain Of Salvation is mentioned a lot. Because I had no promo bio for this review I am not able to check whether this was a cross ball from the bio or a coincidence. Nevertheless this comparison is accurate. The darkness and the heavy passages of Pain Of Salvation have interfaces with Our Oceans.

Now we know a little more about Our Oceans, it's time to dive deeper into their newest album While Time Disappears. In advance I can reveal that the album is an extension of the first album. Luckily there are no surprises with regard to the course. Of course there are some differences. After listening to the opening track Unravel the most important difference that I noticed was the style of mixing. The debut album was mixed in a rather open way, let's call it transparent. While Time Disappears is mixed a little darker, but still stays transparent. This gives the tracks an extra dimension, in my opinion.

The album While Time Disappears contains nine, approximate 5 minute songs. The first track Unravel opens with a short and imminent guitar part. Thereafter it flies into a more lingering atmospheric part. The venom is at the end of the track. The screaming voice of Tymon Kruidenier lays a layer of aggressiveness on this track. The track has a lot of tension in it. This is probably the best kickoff an album can have. Unravel makes a statement and made me curious about the rest of the album.

Weeping Lead opens with a Radiohead-like dramatic, lingering intro. Although it's lingering, it is also very melodic. I really like these parts. They have so much tension and suck you into the song. On the half of the track the atmosphere is changing into a heavier one. It's on these parts that I slightly recognize Muse. Even the voice of Tymon Kruidenier has parallels with the bands lead singer Matthew Bellamy. The end of Weeping fades out as its starts, lingering.

The third track on the album The Heart's Whisper is my personal favorite. All elements which make Our Oceans such a great band are coming together in this track. It starts lingering, with incredible melodic vocals. After a short while the track explodes into a heavy waterfall of distorted guitars and heavy vocals. The entire track is meandering between these atmospheres. Personally I even feel some Porcupine Tree in this track. This track could last forever for me. The tension in it is indescribable.

Motherly Flame is a composition which has the same song structure as its predecessors. The atmosphere in this track has a more psychedelic approach. My personal highlight of this track is the guitar solo at the end. It's dramatic and very intense. Most of the time the guitar is in service of the songs. In this track the guitar makes a short journey and plays this short but beautiful solo.

Passing By starts as passing by should be: emotional and lingering. The end of the song expresses more or less the anger and delusion on an intense way.

Most of the tracks start rather quiet and lingering. On Face Them the approach is different. This track is completely up-tempo and has once more a very dramatic atmosphere. Especially the vocals are very harsh, but as always beautiful.

Your Night, My Dawn is also a track that I really like. It has a rather up-tempo groove and a psychedelic atmosphere. Most of this track contains a landscape of Trans-like music. There are some choirs used in the track, which are lingering themselves through the track with some windy effect on it. The whole atmosphere of the track is incredibly ominous. More than once I used the “repeat one” on my cd-player to enjoy this great track.

The end of this beautiful album is neat. The last but one track of the album You Take goes off the shore. The intro of the track quiet and rather emotional. Beautiful guitar chords and modest vocals form the base of this beautiful and engaging song. The end of the track breathes anger and desperation. You can guess it, it is incredible heavy.

Last track on the album With Hands Torn Open starts with a groovy drum- and bass beat. Personally I think that this track is the most accessible of all songs. It contains a long guitar solo which is not fast, but tastefully and played full of passion.

Five years after their eponymous debut album, Our Oceans delivered a wonderful second album. I think you can say that the band has matured and songs are more thought out. The atmospheres in which Our Oceans likes to move haven't changed. Their music is intense, emotional, compelling and heavy at times. After a couple of listens to the album my appreciation grew to a higher level. I really like this album. I even find it un-Dutch. The album is put together on a high end level.

All of you who like Muse and who like Porcupine Tree without the keyboards probably will like this album also.

For my there is only one conclusion: I rate this album 5 out of 5.

***** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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