The Ocean have had a bit of a tumultuous year. Fresh from taking part in the Summer Slaughter tour (where they butted heads with Sumerian Records boss and tour founder, Ash Avildsen), they’ve carried on with their world tour. Our man out East, Tom Gibbons, caught them when they swung by his manor in Hong Kong.
6 things we learned watching The Ocean in Hong Kong…
1) The Ocean played the majority of their latest concept album Pelagial, parts of which are just absolutely monstrous. Think Tool/APC, Cult Of Luna and Baroness all lodging at a recording studio hotel and producing one long piece around a central theme of descent into minimalist heaviness. Now imagine that in a 300-cap venue in the middle of a Triad industrial estate in Kowloon.
2) The album works perfectly live, being both thoroughly engaging and turning the corners carefully enough for a virgin audience. Is Pelagial one of the most accessible concept post-metal album ever? On the strength of its live deployment, it’s hard to argue otherwise.
3) The accompanying classical/oceanic samples are put to good effect tonight, complimenting both the heavier passages of sound and Loïc Rossetti’s clean/scream vocal styles. Having just finished a gruelling US tour of mostly 20-30 minute sets, The Ocean welcome the headliner status that allows them to give Pelagial a full airing.
4) Doom riffs should not equal happy fun time. Tonight The Ocean are having more fun than a slower-paced, thinking man’s metal band should be allowed to have, according to the rules (LOL “the rules”). Both the audience and band were jumping off the PA, frolicking with an inflatable topless mermaid, and even, yes, smiling, which for a “serious” German metal band is a breath of fresh air.
Look, it’s The Ocean getting up to japes on the China leg of their world tour
5) On the subject of fresh air….smoking is bad for you. Don’t smoke. Don’t even start smoking. However, cigarettes of varying “content” at a low-key gig evoke memories of that “back in the day” vibe that the younger generation in the UK will never get to experience now. Asia hasn’t caught on yet, and the fog of smoke in the air tonight almost lends itself to boosting The Ocean’s gravitas.
6) Asian crowds, notes founder/leader Robin Stap, are a mixed bunch. “At the end of the show they clap for four seconds and then then just stand there in silence”. We can’t help you with that Robin, but you sure as shit earned every one of those four seconds tonight.
We didn’t just charge Tom with watching The Ocean in China – we also made him stick a tape recorder in front of them for the purposes of doing an interview. We’ll have some Hong Kong-based revelations from Robin Stap for you very soon…