Album Review: …And Oceans – As in Gardens, So in Tombs (Season of Mist)

Finnish symphonic black metal band …And Oceans will release their brand-new album, As in Gardens, So in Tombs, on January 27th, 2023, via Season of Mist.

A special album from a special band, …And Oceans appear to be at a creative high and the result of this work is an album that can simply be described as phenomenal.

An album that takes the listener to epic symphonic highs and to sinister blackened lows across its ten-track run (twelve if you get the bonus edition). It really doesn’t get much more grand and much more hellacious than this. The amalgamation of lavish soundscapes and guttural horror at its finest here.

Beginning in eye-watering fashion, the initial touch of atmosphere at the start of the title track does little to prepare the mind for the blistering speed that follows. Something that continues into The Collector and His Construct. …And Oceans doing a spectacular job of blending sharp symphonic melodies with frenzied black metal viciousness, but also delivering such a carefully created structure that every single second thrills. It’s an early contender for the best track on the album.

Though, it’s far from downhill afterwards. Within Fire and Crystal sees …And Oceans really push the symphonic sounds to the forefront, while still sounding suitably enraged. Carried on Lead Wings then lays the darkness on thickly, before Likt Törnen Genom Kött showcases expansive atmosphere and engorged melodies to freshen up the palette a touch.

Halfway through the album and the best word to describe it so far is spectacular. Yet, …And Oceans are far from done blowing minds just yet. Hitting another immense high with the old-school ferocity of Cloud Heads. The symphonic sounds are sharp enough to cut glass here, but the blackened rhythm is the perfect foil. A track so good, that it leaves you feeling elated.

It speaks volumes about the quality of this record that a feeling of delight and happiness can come from such blackened heaviness. The talent of …And Oceans is immeasurably impressive. So much so, that most will find their mouth agape as Wine into Water, Inverse Magnification Matrix, and The Earth Canvas brings even grander and implausible brilliance to the table.

Few will want it to end but end it must (unless you pick up the bonus edition), and it’s with a moody epic called Ambivalent God that …And Oceans bows out on. Truly, an ending that only this band could deliver at this stage of their career. So strong, so detailed, so immensely satisfying is it as an ending, that the initial thought of listening to the two bonus tracks after is off-putting.

That quickly passes though as Samlarens Valv and Third Eye Catalyst prove to be worthy additions and well-worth hearing too. Undoubtably one of the best albums of 2023.

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Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

...And Oceans - As in Gardens, So in Tombs (Season of Mist)
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