"Radiant collapse… Planetary scale… Our indecent errors paved the way
Truth long known before our last deeds… and the world we know will go down in flames…"
Founded by guitarist and composer Robin Staps at the dawn of the millennium, The Ocean immediately stood apart. Coalescing around a shared vision of limitless sonic exploration and heaviness delivered straight from the gut, the German ensemble swiftly gained a formidable reputation as standard bearers for the nebulous but unstoppable post-metal movement.
Simultaneously revered as one of the most devastating live bands in modern heavy music, The Ocean became a regular fixture on the European festival circuit, appearing on metal festival bills of the likes of Hellfest, Wacken, Resurrection or Summer Breeze as much as on mainstream rock open airs like Roskilde, Dour or Pukkelpop, and tastemaker's indoor boutique festivals like Roadburn or Dunk! Over the course of their storied career, The Ocean have toured Europe and North America with iconic and influential artists such as Opeth, Mastodon, Mono, Cult Of Luna, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Anathema, Between The Buried And Me and Devin Townsend. The band's own Pelagic Records has become one of the world's leading labels for post-rock and post-metal, with a catalogue of 150 physical releases since 2009.
Over the last two decades, the band have been in a perpetual state of evolution, releasing a steady succession of groundbreaking and acclaimed albums that have all sought to push heavy music forward, embracing the cerebral, the primal and the inexplicable in equal measure. From the ominous power and thrumming potential of 2004 debut Fluxion and Metal Blade debut Aeolian, described as "complex, overwhelming and mercilessly tight" (Kerrang!), through to 2007 double concept album Precambrian, a "Teutonic paean to Earth's geology" (Revolver) and the two-headed atheist's manifesto of Heliocentric and Anthropocentric (both 2010), Staps and a perennially fluid cast of musical characters have methodically built a unique musical legacy.
In the middle of the global pandemic, The Ocean are about to conclude their most ambitious, overarching and engrossing endeavour to date. In 2018, they released Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic - the first half of a sprawling but superbly cohesive palaeontology concept album. The Phanerozoic eon is the current chapter in Earth's history; a chapter which began 541 million years ago, after the end of the Precambrian. The present tense is the Phanerozoic - we are living in it. During these 541 million years, the evolution and diversification of plant and animal life on Earth occurred, and the destruction of it in five mass extinction events.
Widely hailed as their finest work to date, Phanerozoic I brimmed with moments of wide-eyed melodic brilliance, alongside the expected warping and weaving of post-metal conventions. It entered the official German album charts at #41, while also scoring the band their first significant chart positions in the US, too.