The Ocean will conclude their Phanerozoic with the release of ‘Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic’, the bands eighth album, 25 September via Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records. The paleontology concept began with the 2018 album ‘Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic’. The band have shared the single ‘Oligocene’, which you can watch below.
Filmed by band members Loic Rossetti, David Ahfeldt and Robin Staps and edited and animated by Craig Murray, the footage was shot in the Aragats mountains in Armenia during the bands Siberian Traps Tour last summer. The tour saw the band perform in Russia, Kazachstan, Armenia, Georgia and Japan.
Guitarist and founding member Robin Staps told us: “We found this place by accident: the dilapidated ruins of a soviet observatory and research station for cosmic radiation.
“The building itself looked like a spaceship that had crash-landed up high in the mountains, but there were lots of interesting structures scattered across the landscape: concrete cubes, underground tunnels, rusted machinery, fallen power poles and watchtowers.
“It all looked like taken straight out of Andrej Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’ movie.”
The ‘Stalker’ film was the backbone of The Ocean’s 2013 album ‘Pelagial’.
The single ‘Oligocene’ was written by drummer Paul Seidel, but recorded with synth player Peter Voigtmann on drums. It acts as a transitional track from the busy and heavy first half of the record (Mesozoic) to the more relaxed, spacious and cold ambient feel of the second half (Cenozoic).
In ‘Phanerozoic I’, the band released what many people think of as their finest piece of work to date. Staps agreed, telling us: “The first part of ‘Phanerozoic’ really is a ‘no-regrets’ album, which is quite rare. Maybe even the first time I can ever say that.”
For the second part of the story, the sound is more progressive, with Staps telling us: “‘Phanerozoic II’ is more experimental, more eclectic in musical style and direction, and more varied in terms of tempos, beats, guitar work and the use of electronics.
“This was an intentional choice: we wanted Part I to feel rather streamlined and to have a strong cohesion between the individual songs. We wanted to create a certain vibe to linger from the first until the last note throughout the whole record.
“We kept the weirder, more daring and more progressive material for Part II.”
The Ocean, completed by drummer Paul Seidel, keyboard maestro Peter Voigtmann, bassist Mattias Hagerstrand and guitarist David Ramis Åhfeldt, tracked the album in Iceland, Spain and Germany and it has been produced by esteemed studio guru Jens Bogren.
Staps concludes: “The outcome is a record that is a real journey. It starts in one place, and concludes in a totally different place.
“In a way, it relates to 2013’s ‘Pelagial’, which was similar in that it was also a journey: but a more guided, focused and predictable one.
“‘Phanerozoic II’ on the other hand is closer to the experience of free fall.”