Oceana – The Pattern (Review)

Oceana - The PatternOceana are a progressive metal band from Italy and this is their debut album.

As an introductory description of The Pattern, I’m just going to be lazy and quite the promo blurb – “The intent was to mix progressive metal elements with European-style death doom. Influences, from a musical point of view, range from Edge of Sanity to Katatonia, from Paradise Lost to Duran Duran, from Metallica to Dream Theater, in a very personal fusion of different genres and sounds.”

So what does this mean in practice? Well, the above blurb is pretty accurate, actually. The music is rich and evocative progressive metal that’s been enhanced with death/doom influences. The band create a very personable presence for themselves quite quickly, establishing a quality, professional sound that’s ably backed up by a strong production. The result is a 63-minute European-flavoured progressive metal album that has both instant bite and musical depth. It also ends with a very respectable cover of Metallica’s The Unforgiven, which is no bad thing as it turns out.

The mix of progressive metal and old-school death/doom presented on The Pattern is well-balanced, sometimes favouring one aspect or another, depending on the needs of the music or the desires of the band. The songs are all well-written and are filled with hooks and catchy choruses. Big riffs abound, as do enticing melodies that are emotive and colourful. The album contains enough variety to keep things interesting and hold the listener’s attention, but not so much as to cause the album’s flow to become disrupted or for it to become disjointed.

The vocals are very well-performed, especially the clean singing, which sounds somehow larger than life and is one of my favourite things about this record. Added to this are a variety of vocal deliveries on a spectrum from soft clean singing to harsh death growls, covering a range of intermediate styles between these extremes. The singer knows what he’s doing with his voice.

The Pattern is a strong release from a talented band. This is a collection of very enjoyable songs, and I highly recommend that you check out this album if you have a taste for this style of music.

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