Total Time: 13.08
Label: Season of Mist
Finnish Symphonic Black Metallers AND OCEANS return with their sixth full length album entitled “As In Gardens As In Tombs”. It is the continuation of 2020’s very strong and remarkable “Cosmic World Mother” album, which followed their 2017 reunion. The band exists from 1995 and started playing on the first two albums symphonic Black Metal. Then, for some inexplicable reason ,they released “A.M.G.O.D” and “CYPHER”, in 2001 and 2002 respectively, turning to Industrial Metal with relative success (really huge records but only for fans of that idiom). But with this move they lost a lot of fans and so after many internal problems the band disbanded in 2005. But as we mentioned above, they reactivated in 2017 with the two guitarists Teemu Saari and Timo Kontio from the original line-up, Mathias Lillmans a.k.a Vreth (FINNTROLL) joined the band on vocals, Antti Simonen on keyboards, Pyry Hanski on bass, Kauko Kuusisalo on drums
In “As In Gardens As In Tombs” we find the band with the same line-up. The record – (which contains ten quite short songs) begins dreamily with the stormy title track, and continues just as incredibly with “The Collector And His Construct” which was the first song they gave us when they announced the new record. Crazy rhythms, magnificent melodies on the guitars, amazing use of keyboards and electronic sounds, tremendous choruses that stick with you and sing them constantly, dynamic vocals in a pure Black Metal style, and above all, orchestrations for a seminar. If the following songs were on the same level as the first 2, we would probably talk about the record of the year and not only. But even though the following songs follow the same recipe, they do not reach the incredible levels I mentioned above. Nevertheless, they are not bad at all and they sound pleasant without getting tiring, but they don’t stick to you except for “Likt Törnen Genom Kött” which stands out, mainly for its keyboards and maybe “Cloud Heads” which, apart from the relatively catchy chorus, has some very interesting Industrial passages. In general, the record needs many listens because you discover something new every time you listen to it. In any case, it is superior to the “Cosmic World Mother”.
As for the lyrical part, as much as I tried to understand what they were saying, I couldn’t make it. They talk about abstract things rather cosmic horrors and the way they put their lyrics inside the booklet and the font they use, doesn’t help at all. But the lyrics are very clever and they were searched a lot. Sonically speaking, I consider AND OCEANS an original band but if we wanted to find any influence it would be above all EMPEROR, less DIMMU BORGIR and maybe THORNS. In any case, I highly recommend “As In Gardens As In Tombs” and it will definitely be on my list of the Ten best extreme Metal albums of 2023!
Editor: Dimitris Argyrakis
Related Link: AND OCEANS – Facebook Page