Perception, emotion, thought and feeling can all easily be influenced by various factors throughout life. The Ocean’s “Pelagial” attempts to change these in the listener. It succeeds beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. A concept album, the record takes the listener on a journey through the various layers of the ocean. It begins with the light and airy “Epipelagic,” continuing into the intensifying “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny.” These songs are brilliant starts to the album. With swirling water sounds, submarine noises, and air bubbles surrounded by light piano, “Epipelagic” serves to introduce the listener to the aquatic atmosphere to be explored. “Mesopelagic” begins the journey, bringing guitar, drums and dual bass guitars into the mix and growing into a heavier sound. This is a common theme throughout the album: the intensification of sonic delivery.
Much like diving deeper into the ocean, the record becomes darker and gloomier as it proceeds. The three-part “Bathyalpelagic” section of the album introduces many heavy riffs revisited and intensified in the following two-part “Abyssopelagic” segment. “Hadopelagic I: Omen of the Deep” is an extraordinarily intense instrumental section that proves that the listener is in for a bad fate before the album ends. The second “Hadopelagic” segment, “Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance,” and “Benthic: The Origin of Our Wishes” finish off the album. “Benthic” practically crushes the listener under what would be thousands of pounds of pressure at this deep layer of the ocean.
An extremely unique concept, the journey deep into the ocean also represents another interesting journey: the search for the narrator’s own meaning and, like the title of “Benthic,” the origin of his wishes. Indeed, wishes are oft visited throughout the lyrics of the record. As the narrator nears the end of his internal journey, he realizes something astounding about himself. I will not reveal it here, as it would spoil the album for you all.
Speaking of lyrics, they are the most impressive part of this album. Originally conceived as an instrumental album, which is also included in the packaging, vocal segments were added one by one until vocalist Loïc Rossetti’s booming voice filled each track. The way in which the lyrics were written is astounding: Rossetti began by listening to each completed instrumental track and singing along with various sounds until he found sounds that fit. Then, he matched meaningful lyrics to these sounds. The effect of this is a truly unifying vocal concept that brings the entire album together.
This album represents leaps forward in musical writing. With dueling bass parts, powerful guitar segments, beautiful piano interludes and astounding vocal work, “Pelagial” is not to be missed. This album gets a perfect 10 out of 10 from me. If you are on the fence about listening to it, begin the album from “Epipelagic” and listen at least to the end of “Mesopelagic,” the second song. By that point, you will be captivated. Finish the journey, and you will be rewarded with one of the most incredible musical experiences of all time. Perception, emotion, thought and feeling: let this album
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