Released in February by GS Productions, Ocean of Grief’s Fortress of My Dark Self bears little resemblance to the records reviewed over the past few weeks by MetalAteMyBaby.com. In fact, it was Phil from Ocean of Grief that first reached out to MAMB.com to see if the site’s production schedule would allow the publication of a review grading the February 2016 release of Fortress of My Dark Self.
MetalAteMyBaby.com’s production schedule was flexible, but this is not the reason why MAMB.com opted to review the aforementioned EP. Rather, Jason and Ben–the founding authors of MetalAteMyBaby.com–enjoy hearing from bands just starting out in the industry, and were thus more than happy to review the Greek band’s melodic-doom effort. Indeed, any aspiring metal band is welcome to contact the site’s administrators to request the review of the band’s latest–perhaps even debut–metal release.
The six-member outfit hailing from Athens was formed in late 2014. Striving to mix melodic metal with doom, Ocean of Grief counts Saturnus and Slumber as primary influences. Utilizing twin guitars, bass, drums, and a keyboard, Ocean of Grief aims to forge a unique, musically diverse sound to distinguish the band from the buzzing French and Italian death metal scenes. These influences, coupled with the band’s musical ambitions, produced the February 2016 EP Fortress of My Dark Self.
With five tracks comprising nearly 27 minutes, the record’s first take-notice moment comes roughly 45 seconds into the EP’s second track, “House of Misery,” when the slow and deliberate malevolence of the track is overshadowed by a suitably melodic guitar passage. Moreover, the song’s haunting lyrics match the pace and tone of the music:
Returning to my home
Where walls choke me
I open the main door
Rooms blur my mind
The living room
Hosts now a nothing
And it feeds my sickness
Albums with pictures
Stand there dusty
Reminding me the beautiful past
“Futile Regrets,” meanwhile, sounds at times like a midtempo melodic death metal track, with a plodding tempo yet inherent rhythm reminiscent of early Finnish dark metal denizens. In fact, “Futile Regrets” features a third stanza that reads:
In the wrecks of your soul
A fire smolders
It starts to blaze
And whispers in your ear
There is an abundance of melancholy, even an acceptance of fate, speaking through the music recorded for the band’s 2016 EP Fortress of My Dark Self. The instruments are played deliberately; in other words, instead of coaxing impressive chord structures and scale patterns from their instruments, guitarists Filippos and Dimitra remain understated in their composition, preferring to allow distortion and hauntingly slow melodies to drive the musical narrative of Ocean of Grief’s music.
Its occasional melodic passages notwithstanding, the music featured on Fortress of My Dark Self varies dramatically from the styles of extreme metal typically analyzed by MetalAteMyBaby.com. That said, there is unquestionably a time and place for solidly-executed doom metal, and many readers of MAMB.com may find the review of such music a refreshing departure from insanely technical, violent death metal bands. Wherever you fit within this equation, ultimately know that Fortress of My Dark Self is worth owning for those that enjoy basking in the malevolence of sinister doom metal.
Available on Limited Edition Digipack: http://gsp-music.com/oceanofgrief/gsp111
To download the entire album, plus bonus artwork, visit:
As always, make an effort to support the band financially through the purchase of Ocean of Grief’s music and merchandise, and stay tuned for the Grecian outfit’s tour plans in America.