...And Oceans - Cosmic World Mother
Season Of Mist
Symphonic Black Metal
11 songs (47:30)
Release year: 2020
...And Oceans, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Since Finnish collective ...And Oceans dissolved in 2005, we've heard plenty from the members under various different project titles. Havoc Unit, for instance, took that early millennial electronic metal influence in a deliciously nasty direction on 2008's h.IV+, left enticingly open-ended at a single album, as was that strange O project. Last year's resuscitation of Festerday, the members' earliest band, was a divergence into the primitive death metal realms! And then came the news that ...And Oceans were finally returning to life, original guitarist duo Teemu Saari and Timo Kontio returning with a lineup that includes latter-day bassist Petri Seikkula (True Black Dawn, live for Baptism) alongside new guys Kauko Kuusisalo on drums (Gorephilia among others), Antti Simonen on keys (Morian, ex-Alghazanth) and vocalist Mathias Lillmåns (most notably in Finntroll since 2007). It's a more than solid line-up, and the stage is duly set for a grand new album that pushes even further at the ...And Oceans experimental metal oeuvre...

So initial listens to Cosmic World Mother are something of a shock, considering it's a quite straightforward symphonic black metal album! You could have gone into a coma in 1997 and awakened now to the sound of this album and not missed a thing. Aggressive but not without melody, spacey keyboards add much to both atmosphere and listenability, yet it's hard to tell tracks apart without many listens. The issue is that as with all throwback metal albums, the quality depends entirely on atmosphere and songwriting (there must be a mathematical formula for this, Q = A x S or whatever!) and although the atmosphere is strong here, the songwriting isn't. Cosmic World Mother is downright repetitive at points, certain moments (Five of Swords, for instance) coming across as In the Nightside Eclipse cover acts without that album's strong writing. There's a slight industrial feel to certain tracks that helps them stand out, such as at the start of As the After Becomes the Before, which benefits from allowing a little more diversity in the drumming rather than straight-ahead blasting but soon reverts to type. The piano that opens the title track works in much the same way, a hint at variety that isn't followed up on.

Sure, the actual symphonic black metal heart of the album works well, especially when given space to breathe as on Helminthiasis, and piano interlude In Abhorrence Upon Meadows comes just when it is needed in the tracklisting. Yet unless you were desperate for a follow-up to The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts, there's not much here that hasn't been done much better by others, not least the eternally underappreciated Limbonic Art. So ultimately your reaction to Cosmic World Mother will depend much upon how strongly you feel about underground metal bands and their comebacks, not least when said comebacks are to the earlier parts of their career rather than later ones. It's a good start; this is solid despite being repetitive and it will be interesting to see where ...And Oceans go next.

Killing Songs :
As the After Becomes the Before, Helminthiasis
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by ...And Oceans that we have reviewed:
...And Oceans - The Symmetry Of I - The Circle Of O reviewed by Khelek and quoted 89 / 100
...And Oceans - Cypher reviewed by Jack and quoted 70 / 100
...And Oceans - A.M.G.O.D. reviewed by Danny and quoted 78 / 100
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