4. The Ocean – Pelagial
April 30 on Metal Blade Records
The sixth studio album by The Ocean outlines the descent from the top to the bottom of the ocean. Not a lot of time is spent near the surface (“Epipelagic”), as a light piano intro kicks things off. Though the second track, “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny”, is rather light in its heaviness, if you will – in terms of vibe – its weighty conclusion already points to darker things ahead. Robin Staps, guitarist, songwriter, and founder, originally wrote the album to be instrumental, due to Loïc Rossetti’s vocal troubles at the time of conception. However, Rossetti soon recovered and the group decided to release both an instrumental version and one with vocals; the deluxe package includes both. Though I certainly don’t mind Rossetti’s voice, I get much more enjoyment out of the instrumental version, since, naturally, it better transmits Staps’ original intention. An example of this is how the instrumental version puts more focus on bubbling, underwater sounds, which really does heighten the experience, as do the strings and piano which appear throughout. As a whole, Pelagial is a one of the best instrumental albums and concept albums to be released in recent years.