Back on July 20th, Skeletonwitch dropped Devouring Radiant Light, easily one of the best metal albums of 2018. In the month-plus ever since, we’ve had a whole lot of NOTHING released in the metal world. That spell should officially be over this week thanks to Pig Destroyer’s Head Cage and Clutch’s Book of Bad Decisions, but I’ve got to admit, it’s been rough going.
There have been some pretty fantastic singles to come out during that span, from Behemoth’s “God=Dog”, Anaal Nathrakh’s “Forward!”, and High on Fire’s “Electric Messiah”, but I’m not sure any of them can hold a candle to the track that The Ocean gave us today.
The band’s last full-length album, 2013’s Pelagial, is still one of my favorite metal albums of the century, and their track “The Quiet Observer” of a 2015 split with MONO was one of my favorite songs of the year. Along the same expansive, progressive lines as that track is “Permian: The Great Dying”, which has rocketed up to the tippity-top of my Song of the Year-shortlist. I mean, it’s over 9 minutes long and I’ve already listened to it at least 7 times today. That’s an hour of my day I’ve spent listening to this ONE FREAKING SONG. If my day were a pie chart, The Ocean’s piece of the pie could easily feed a teenage Nebraskan farm boy coming home from a day in the fields.
“Permian: The Great Dying” is everything that makes The Ocean great, with the progressive, almost post-rock melodies backed up by a menacing, ever-present darkness. Considering this is the lead single off a planned double album, I can’t wait to dig into the complex themes that the band undoubtedly has in store. Seriously, Pelagial was a concept album where the tracks, in descending order, describe specific ocean depths, both musically and lyrically. What are they going to come up with when they’ve had five years to write?