…And Oceans – As in Gardens, so in Tombs (Review)

...And Oceans - As in Gardens, so in TombsThis is the sixth album from Finnish black metallers …And Oceans.

…And Oceans play symphonic black metal, and As in Gardens, so in Tombs provides us with 50 minutes of sharp, professional music, (58 minutes with the bonus tracks). It’s redolent with second wave symphonic splendour, and this is an album that really exemplifies the style. Are you ready for a slice of pure black metal mastery?

The symphonic black metal of …And Oceans is electronically enhanced, lending the music an industrial edge in places. The symphonic aspects of the music are embedded in the songs to the extent that if you removed them the music would suffer. Quirky and charismatic, yet without becoming distracting or hitting the wrong tone, the keyboards are infectious and moreish, much like the songs as a whole, really.

These songs are rich in melody. The band integrate this into the music in affecting ways, portraying emotive weight and atmospheric might with ease. The songwriting marries atmosphere and serrated aggression, making for blackened tracks that cut deep. Cascading keyboards, melodic intensity, and blasting hostility form the loose framework for this record to do its dark work, and within this …And Oceans showcase their artistic skills as they paint vivid pictures with blackened sound. This is not a band that hastily slap songs together and hope for the best; everything here has clearly received its due consideration, and the results are compelling, remarkably catchy and hook-filled, and downright tasty.

This is majestic, powerful stuff. Very few bands play this sort of symphonic black metal with such authenticity and skill, but then very few bands are like …And Oceans. This music reminds me of the 90s era massively, and yet is still so obviously feels at home in 2023.

Well-written, well-played, well-delivered, and well-crafted overall, As in Gardens, so in Tombs, is a glorious success. If you’re a fan of the style then this is essential.

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