Dave Imbernön's SCALP: OCEANS OF TIME, 'Faces' (Melodic Revolutions Records, 2012)

Today I'm going to tell you about my feelings when I listened to OCEANS OF TIME's album. They're a Metal band from Norway -and when I say Metal, I mean Metal. Not those things a lot of us say we do and then it's something else. This guys play true Metal, and without complexes 'the Spanish way'.

The band is formed by Ken Lyngfossa (vocals), Lazz Jensen (guitars), Geir Nielsen (bass) and Baard Kolstad (drums).

And now, to the point. I want Metaaaaaaal \m/ The album's title is 'Faces' and it starts like this...

'Quest For Mistery' is the song that opens the album, a fantastic instrumental track which plays with progressive parts, great keyboards, good guitar solos and shattering sound, exquisit production and perfect playing. With big metrical changes. I fear this album will impress me -I'll go on...

A dark piano opens 'Walls Of Silence' and finally the voice appears. Good metrical changes along the whole song, progressing to moments of ecstasy where good choirs join big matresses of keyboards, a very good keyboard solo, where it's proven that this instrument can do more than just accompanying orchestras at weddings, first comunion, baptism and other celebrations. It's followed by a good, more modest guitar solo; production seems good to me, sound is spectacular and all that, together with a band that plays the song well, gives a surprising result. I think the voice is very good, maybe not as shiny as the rest, but very good and well-placed in this track.

'The Beast' is the third track of the record, which starts with changes in the beats in short time to become very heavy during the verses. Great bridges making those 'riffs' last. Details in the keyboards that I find very creative, and those choirs are very good, very careful. Halfway through the song, there's a pseudo-progressive part, with powerish sound that really catches my ear -great!!! Flute and piano start an interlude that opens a code sunk in classic piano playing with the band, a game that takes us into a new idea within the song. About this track I remark the quality of these guys, they are very good musicians... F**k (sorry...), these guys do know what making Metal is!!!!

The next song is the forth, it's also the title of the album: 'Faces'. Powerful intro with a flute leading with a light melody deliberatedly in fits and starts... Very 'hard rocking' voice melody, in this track you can notice progressive details, maybe they're not apparently present, although you can see clearly what these guys like with the snares in the verses. They change to a rough part with very progressive changes, with diverse instrumental metrical changes. After this part, the come back to hard rock, and even the solo is based in certain Nordic hard rock harmonies, but oddly, these rhythmic parts are very progressive. God details in the voices and the deliberated stops. The truth is that production is smart. They go back withing the sng, mix the previous parts greatly. I'm amazed! :O

A baroque-ish keyboard intro opens to our ears, 'Kingdom Falls', to turn heavy with elegant, fast keyboards and powerful drums. Every song in this album is a lesson of elegance. Suddenly we get to the chorus, with a long chorale that accompanies a base of epic anthem... Awesome!!! From there, they go back to power as if nothing had happened. Perhaps the changes to the choruses are a bit abrupt, but the chorus is so good that I'll forgive it.

Brilliant opening for 'A Touch Of Insanity', a very progressive and 'politically incorrect'. A genius, riffs brilliantly played, absolut perfection. A dark track, I think it's the darkest of the record. Solos mingle with powerful riffs. When listening to this song, one feels like leaving music to start crochet or cross-stitch. Halfway through the song they relax, a piano with oldish sound marks the background as the rest of the sounds try to start blocks through a game of cuts, but they manage to fool us and start a medieval melody with a lot of magic and courage, to finish in a Vai's-style solo. They go back to extreme progressive cuts. Harmonies used in this song truly remind me of Steve Vai's 'Sex & Religion'. After a false ending, they come back with a power metal part with big touches of progressive (or progressive with big touches of power, actually). Indispensable, ace song.

With 'Roars Of Organs' the spirit of Symphony X shows up in my living room. Great!! The lamp shakes to the thunderous rhythm, so I turn up the graves in my sound system and the swing of my lamp becomes  a 'Fuocault pendulum', putting in danger that marble table my mother loves so much, and that I will break someday listening to Slayer or Asesino. Sorry, back to the song. Amazing part where the piano remains alone doing blues scales before the guitar solo. Tremendous chorus with good chorale, where the rhytmic changes make my heart synchronize with my Foucault lamp... err.. my mother's. The song ends abruptly -yes, when I say abruptly is NOW!!

A beautiful piano pens 'Uncurtainty', it's only a couple of bars of piano, then the band enters and... a female voice sings...Oops! What am I hearing? A bit 'poppy' voice, but it's not bad, slushy melody and smooth song. There's nothing progressive apparently, but the chorus is remarkable. A beautiful track, maybe, compared to the rest of the album, it would seem to go down, but it's not like that, actually. These guys have an ace up their sleeve and they've fooled us again... Halfway through the song the rhythms and progressive harmonies are more noticeable, specially in some cuts to separate instrumental parts.

Another pian opens 'Panic' but deep dark guitars, together with a smooth synth sequence tear up the start until we enter a neoprogressive, pure Symphony X style. Shattering guitar riffs and keyboards once more. That pharaonic part is really touching, with those catchy keyboard choruses and then it makes you fall in love when it passes to 7/4. A flute leads our path to a progressive complex with a base of acoustic guitar and drums... impressive! There is where I feel amazed and I listen t the solo, that comes back to verses and bridges with creative variations... This track is perfect. I want it for me, I should have created it, but no, it's been created by OCEANS OF TIME... Dave, I see you making Maiden's 'Powerslave' album cover in cross-stitch.

The sng that ends teh album, 'You're So Cold', is a song more familiar to our ears. I mean, the voice is so melodious, and it feels s good that if we don't focus, we miss everything underneath that voice melody. Changes of accentuation, speed variations in short parts, mixing several styles that are s different in the base, like power, hard rck r prog rock. The chorus is hugely catchy, perhaps a bit short in my opinion, but triumphant. It's a song whose technique gets heavier progressively, with big parts, gradual accelerations, off-beats that break with everything. In short, great song that ends an awesome album.

The production is perfect, the performance is technically perfect, I would remark the keyboards, which have a big role in the songs, as it has to be. Guitar riffs  are amazing, drums amazing -although I fear there is some production trick there, but the result is fantastic. It's clear that this band has very different influences, from Dream Theater, Symphony X (very noticeable), Kamelot (specially the drawing of some melodies with the voice), etc. Honestly, it's one of the best bands I've ever listened to.  Highly recommendable album: you may like it or not, but these people know what they do.

Dave Imbernön
Translation: Judith Sáez

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