Death Engine - Ocean
For the friends of: Cult Of Luna, Callisto, Neurosis
Favorite track(s): 'Pulled Down', 'Lack' and 'Dying Alone'
Random words: tsunami
Formed in Lorient, France, in 2012, 'Death Engine' has quickly established itself as a strong underground act in the European metal scene. Their cold and hopeless sound has pieces from noise rock and early post-metal scenes. Their sophomore album 'Place Noire' caught me in their hook when it was released in 2018.
The band returns with their new album 'Ocean' and a line-up revamped around guitarist/vocalist 'Mikaël Le Diraison'. The album is described to be more personal and introspective. The 40 minutes showcase the band's way of producing massive sound while allowing more space for heaviness and melody.
Let's dig into the 'Ocean' track by track!
The track works like an intro for the whole album. It starts with a noisy guitar part which leads into a sludge riff and steady double pedal beat. The track immediately shows the band's change between 'Place Noire' and 'Ocean' with the increase of heaviness and post-metal vibes. The vocals are excellent on the track having a strong melancholic and cold feeling resembling the band's earlier releases.
The very beginning reminds me a lot of the Swedish post-metal kings Cult of Luna. 'Leaden Silence' is an exciting track balancing between heavy post-metal sound and more melodic and hopefully parts. Somehow I really enjoy the simple and slow drum part with the many cymbals. Another great part is the higher note part, with a short break before the massive riff starts again. A small, funny detail is how similar the endings are with 'Hyperion' and 'Leaden Silence'.
Post-metal is known for long tracks, and 'Pulled Down' is the first slightly longer track of the album. The cold bass sound, in the beginning, is really awesome, all in its simple ways. Again this track is a great example of how very heavy sound and more melodic parts can be combined. 'Pulled Down' is also one of the album's most versatile tracks, which comes to the vocals. In the chorus, the vocals remind a little bit of the grunge era, but combined with heavy pressure. There's so much emotion in the vocals that you can imagine the veins popping. This is one of the best tracks of the album.
The track shows the noisier side of 'Death Engine', reminding of their earlier production, but with a more massive drum track. 'Lack' is quite a simple and repetitive track, but not boring at all. It's like a never-ending train that keeps on going, no matter what's on its way. In its repetitive style, 'Lack' is very hypnotic. I enjoy the end with the noisy part and would have wished to hear a bit more of this kind of 'Death Engine'.
Time to dive into the world of classic post-metal. The guitars work really well with the clear vocals on the lighter beginning and when the track explodes. I love when the vocals balance between screaming and being clean. It sounds so brutal and emotive. Overall, this track sounds like honoring the early post-metal but with a fresh touch. For me, there has always been a very thin line between boring post-metal and somehow very basic but still great sounding post-metal. 'Mess' definitely falls in the latter category.
Another great track on the album has the cold and hopeless feeling that 'Death Engine' is known for. It's incredible how the track sounds most of the time like it would explode, but it just goes on with the great tension. Same time 'Dying Alone' is very melodic but heavy and depressing. Let's not forget about the brilliant bass sound. One of the best tracks of the album, even though the very ending is a bit cliche.
The longest track has been saved as the finisher of the album. The drum beat is awesome with the uneven hi-hat, reminding me a bit of 'Cult Of Luna'. Once again, 'Mikaël Le Diraison' shows his capability of varied and excellent vocals. With the whole album, 'Le Diraison' could easily be put in the group of best metal vocalists. He has a brilliant style of screaming as well as clean vocals and everything in between. One of the great moments is when the beat goes chaotic and slows down before the heavy sludge riff starts. If the beginning sounded like 'CoL', so does the very ending. But for me, this does not matter since everything works, sounds great, and makes you start the album over from the beginning.