Sunday, 22 March 2020

Ocean Grove "The Rhapsody Tapes" (2017)

This five piece Australian Alternative Metal outfit known as Ocean Grove have been my absolute binge of late. I discovered them through the Punk Rock MBA's video essay on the revival of Nu Metal. A blessing but also a blur. Letting Youtube play endless songs and discovering them right as a new album drops has made the whole experience overwhelming, now having a plethora of songs I adore to engage with. Narrowing my focus a little, I've been getting my head around this one, their debut full length released seven years on from their inception as a Post-Hardcore band.

The Rhapsody Tapes is stunning, perhaps the reasons a little less obvious as to why in the shadow of whats to come. Youthful, spirited and brimming with emotive energy, somehow they avoid the follies of sounding like a nostalgia trip. The 90s sounds run strong with this band. Nirvana, Oasis and Nu Metal can be heard melding in the melting pot with a vibrancy of modern Metal and ideas brought about in the decades since. Originality isn't in question here, these short and punch Pop Metal songs are so vibrant and well written, they simply work, to be enjoyed without need for reflection.

Without a defined formula nailed down, the twelve songs play with a dynamic range of temperaments exploring groove, emotion and fun within the bright template of crisp distortion guitars resonating massive quantities of energy. A couple of interlude tracks play as expanded elements of style, odd ball collaborations that for the most part work. The occasional inclusion of synth or drum machine adds a little flair. The rest of the music however often has a distinction from the realms of Grunge, Metalcore, Djent, Nu Metal and so on. I could write a list of bands, its as if each song plays tribute to particular artist and genre, sometimes mixing, all of which I happen to be a fan of.

Their singer Luke Holmes may be just getting by on the occasional Rap Metal moments of the record but when letting loose he soars and croons with a stunning sensibility for elevating tone. The duo of Jimmy Hall and Mathew Henley on guitars write sensational vibrant, bouncy riffs brimming with energy. Everything they try is a treat and the chemistry between these three sails the record to a height where I simply can't put it down. Its everything I love, done again and with a renewed youth!

Favorite Tracks: Beers, The Wrong Way, These Boys Light Fires, When You're This High You Can Say What You Like, Stratosphere Love
Rating: 8/10