Oceanwake – Sunless

Slower varieties of doom, those that enter the realm of the funereal, are often overlooked except by this sick, vibrant niche of freakos who find themselves content with purposefully getting jaundice and sitting in the darkness after the electricity is shut off, their bills long unpaid after hours of self-induced misery.  All that remains is one CD player, some batteries, and albums like this.  We’re talking about albums that absorb all light from life, swallow the sun, and leave the earth primal blackness, medieval blackness.  Most doom bands are content with focusing primarily on crushing chords that, if analyzed, are usually rather meager in their depth.  Others, in an effort to fool the listener into believing the depth really exists, extend their chording endlessly, with one-beat-per-minute laments covered in theatrical keyboards that are all derived from the same patterns.  But what if someone were to add more melody, combine moments of beauty with moments of dread instead of simply sulking, sullen, in some symbolic corner?  What if someone or some band were to chime bells long forgotten and awaken all of us into a new realm of doom?


This is our first experience with Oceanwake, but as per our usual we made sure to scope out what they’ve done in the past and were immediately struck by their focus, visually, on stark, expansive scenes in nature, such as their last single release, Nadir, which is in fact a track eliminated from the album we’re reviewing today.  The empty, silent waves on the cover, the jagged rocks reflected in their surface, it speaks of minds interested in expanding doom into new territories, areas as of yet unexplored.  Finland’s Oceanwake are such a band, and Sunless is such an album.  Let us now engage our minds with melody, power, and dream-inducing post-doom, which we dare say is now a thing.


Sunless is only four tracks, but four colossal tracks whose shadows darken the fields in which you dwell, like looming towers of some abandoned, medieval bell towers.  It opens with force, trampling bones, jolting you awake, as though the arrival of dawn has called forth a shuddering resonation of metal monster that have been inactive for decades.  Long have the bells gone silent, but here again they speak, jolting awake your spirit and pulling you from your slumber into step under an overcast sky.  Oceanwake do an excellent job of leading the listener along, grabbing you by the skin and forcing you to your feet, to only then slow and sink into atmospheric tendrils that lurk over your skin like opiate mist as you slink back onto your moldering bed.  What makes Sunless so wonderful is how Oceanwake loses the listener in both forms of their musical approach, the heavy and the post.  They’ll shudder your spine with intensity, and then cradle your languishing body in tender arms.  And not satisfied with simply separating these two fields of existence, Oceanwake will, and does, combine them together.  This album is most unlike the majority of doom out there today, it focuses more on its atmosphere than ‘the crush’, in fact the crush is subservient to the greater meaning behind Sunless, which is an emptying of one’s being and a filling with that acrid heartache that makes life worth living.


Oceanwake Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Oceanwake: Sunless
ViciSolum Productions
4.6 / 5