If you checked in on the blog yesterday, you’ll notice that we have a bit of an Ocean theme going this week. Today, we’re looking at the Part II continuation of The Ocean Collective’s Phanerozoic double album. Part I came out last year and made it into the Top 20 Best of Metal list for 2019. How’s Part II stack up to Part I, you ask? It’s pretty good. I think Part I is the better of the two halves, but Part II still has quite a bit to enjoy. I still think it would have been nice to release this thing as one single piece instead of releasing them separately a year or so apart. I’m still going to have to sit down and listen to them both back-to-back to see if the two pieces actually fit together as a cohesive whole.
Part II is definitely more mellow and more experimental than the first part. You’ve got a bit more electronic bits and pieces driving the musical landscape on this one. Jonas Renske of Katatonia is brought in for a guest vocalist spot once again to match his contribution on Part I. Robin Stapp continues to be one of the more compelling songwriters in the game today. He’s one of those guys who has a very distinctive style, but never falls into stale routines. In certain ways, he reminds me a lot of Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation in this regard. Stapp is always pushing the Collective into new and uncharted territories. The Ocean Collective may not be considered a classic “prog” band, but they definitely have a very progressive approach to the course of the band’s discography.
4 flip flops out of 5