Oceans Of Sadness - Mirror Palace
Scarlet Records
Progressive Metal
10 songs (48:07)
Release year: 2007
Oceans Of Sadness, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review
It’s difficult to properly describe Progressive Metal sometimes, not because mere words are inadequate to convey the sheer beauty of what you’re hearing (if only!) but because you can often only describe them in relation to other Prog Metal bands. Of course, to what extent stealing other bands’ styles and trying to make them your own makes a band ‘progressive’ is debatable; even being kind and saying that there’s a natural level of influence that affects all bands doesn’t take into account the facelessness of much of the scene. The few that stand out by being genuine innovators are what make it all worthwhile.

Whilst at first Belgium’s Oceans Of Sadness may seem to be nothing more than a slightly Poppy Opeth clone, time and patience reveal the band’s fifth album to be a much more unique entity. Yes, it does use the heavy/light approach that Opeth is (in)famous for, but this is mixed with a certain amount of Power Metal bounciness, piano being interwoven almost constantly in the background with the other instruments to create a specific texture of its own.

It’s interesting to note that unlike a lot of bands, Oceans Of Sadness manage to make the greater part of the album catchy and memorable from the first listen. Mould is an excellent opener, effortlessly mixing catchiness and a progressive style, 70s keyboards and growls bonding perfectly. Cruel Sacrifice opens with an interesting Jazz instrumental, whilst Intoxicate Me features excellent use of clean vocals. It’s hard, in fact, to find a song anywhere that doesn’t have its own hook or standout feature; partway through, the band chose to include a cover of Alice In Chains' Them Bones, and that classic song fits in perfectly with Oceans Of Sadness' own material. There’s an epic note to many of the songs without using the overbearing orchestration of the likes of Dimmu Borgir, the closest it gets being on closing track I Know You Know which moves from a Folky opening towards the gentler end of Symphonic Metal.

By no means is Mirror Palace your run-of-the-mill Prog-Power album. The band describes itself as ‘Death/Black/Gothic Metal’; clearly there’s a wider range of influences than usual, and you can hear all of these elements in the band’s sound. It doesn’t really sound like Opeth once you’re used to it, giving more attention to the ‘light’ parts, and although it is apparently a concept album, it suffers from none of the usual weaknesses. No, this isn’t extremely technical, requiring hundreds of listens before you unlock it; this is the more straightforward end of Prog Metal, as much about the Metal as the Prog. And, ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Killing Songs :
Mould, Cruel Sacrifice, I Know You Know
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Oceans Of Sadness that we have reviewed:
Oceans Of Sadness - The Arrogance Of Ignorance reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
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