Birmingham’s Oceans Ate Alaska do a lot of things right with their debut release, ‘Into The Deep’. Some fantastic instrumental performances sees a refreshingly progressive edge flirt with their rather aggressive take on post-hardcore. Yet, there remains here some unfortunate melodic pitfalls which mean that the EP cannot be labelled as anything other than largely hit and miss.
Indeed, the problems here are starkly apparent throughout opening track, ‘I, The Creator’. With some furious start/stop riffing and pummelling breakdowns, the song gains momentum with impressive ease, until some unforgivably weak clean vocals prove to utterly derail proceedings. This is a pattern that really does tend to plague the release. ‘A Call To Arms’, with its winding lead work and savage guttural roars, is dragged down by a tepid chorus, as is an otherwise solid ‘Hunting Season’ (which features a rather staggering drum delivery towards the end).
As already mentioned, it’s the band’s instrumental talents that prove to be their saving grace. The guitars bite and soar in equal measure, with the dexterous ‘X-Ray Eyes’ being particularly impressive, leaping from barbarous chugging, swirling lead passages and shimmering chord stabs. The percussion is similarly rousing, with a violent performance easily keeping pace.
Oceans Ate Alaska have laid down some promising groundwork. Appealing enough to retain the listeners attention throughout, ‘Into The Deep’ suffers from only one major flaw, which regrettably is repeated far too frequently to really disregard. The potential here though is undeniable.
Written by Tony Bliss