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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ocoai - The Electric Hand ALBUM REVIEW

Ocoai delve into the darker realms of the human experience on The Electric Hand. They have moments of thick sludgy riff goodness, keyboard/guitar-centered repose on death, and the recurring restlessness of insomnia. There is material on here that dreamy post-rock fans will like, and others that sludge enthusiasts will dig; Ocoai succeed in bringing together light and heavy instrumentation conveying different moods and progressions of thought.

The "Waking Fear" arises out of delicate string work including two guitars and a violin, as touches of drums and bass accent the sound. Train sounds at 2:30 enter into a dark tunnel full of wild sound bouncing off the walls like that great scene in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Strumming followed by picking leads into a sludgy riff on "Niveus Hills". A change of pace at 2:15, the sun has fallen and it's a free-for-all struggle. These are barren hills ridden with beings like that pictured on the album cover scavenging for food and resources. "Grimpeur" enters with some acoustic strumming backed by ghoulish drones. The word translates to "climber", the track climbs from an easy slope to steadily more complex instrumentation. Some tasty guitar licks at 3:00. At 8:30 the the two guitars, briefly sounding Eagles-like create a sense of openness which builds as the climber gets closer and closer to the peak. A great variety of riffs, tempos, and mix of instruments including a violin and organ makes this a dense track to behold.

"Somnium" has eerie distorted strings, wobbling background effects, and electronics. This song takes its name from a novel of the same name which is considered to be the first science fiction novel. It's a very spacey-ambient track, the listener is viewing the grandiose Earth from space and contemplating life from a wider perspective. "La Main D'Electrique" brings back the metal sound fronted by guitar riffs that sound like they are sound-tracking a chase in an old black and white horror film. This track has more vintage sounding riffs and drumming. Droning organ backs some to an eighth note drum beat, a merchant of sleep lulls the listener in on "Marchand de Sommeil". Methodical guitar notes enter back in around the 6-minute mark the band dips in an and out of sleep. It's the story of a man with a case of insomnia; he edges close to sleep, but his mind filled with drumming passions and longings to improve his life. "Morte Audaciter" starts with keyboards and a rhythm guitar a feeling of loss(Morte means death). It's an elegant peaceful ending to the album that paints the emotion of death through its minimal usage of keys and straining guitar notes.

The ideas and sound are similar to that of heavy instrumental groups that make music to paint pictures of dark scenery like Omega Massif and Earth. No vocals, moments of thick and sparse instrumentation, and scenic song titles are something that all three groups share. Ocoai have fused the worlds of post-rock and sludge metal to create a full-bodied analysis into some dark realities of life on earth.


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