September 15, 2014 Being As An Ocean – How We Both Wondrously Perish (Album Review)
Being As An Ocean, a newly formed American Post-Hardcore Metal band, wasted no time perfecting their style after the instant internet success of their debut album Dear G-d (2012) and the loss Shad Hamawe and Jacob Prest as members. The band persisted and inducted the very talented Connor Dennis from Sleeping Pat to complete their lineup and produce their sophomore full-length-album How We Both Wondrously Perish under InVouge Record; which became an instant Billboard 200 success after springing to and holding the 57th spot.
How We Both Wondrously Perish opens with “Mediocre Shakespeare”; a song that starts right with a catchy rhythm and strong lyrics that have become a staple of Being As An Oceans. The way vocalist Tyler Ross screams “Tragedy” in the first few lyrics sets the stage for the vocal risk, fast pace, and rhythmic tempo. Not only are the vocals strong, new drummer Connor Dennis has outdone himself and cemented this spot in the band. Some of the best drum fills on the album is echoed though “L’exquisite Douleur” melodies and most notably the haunting bridge.
“Death’s Great Black Wings Scraped the Air” is an instant hook. The collaboration of drums, bass, and vocals collide for the perfect melody and style to attract listeners, and keep them listening. As the song progresses, relaxed graceful lyrics, piano chimes, and drum rolls combine for a goose-bump worthy bridge which can only be followed by the rather beautiful intensity of gravely growls and screams, accompanied by a thundering bass line. Overall, “Death’s Great Black Wings Scraped the Air” holds true to Being As An Ocean’s style musically and lyrically as the vocals turn to spoken poetry and the music fades to an echoing guitar riff.
Title track “How We Both Wondrously Perished” runs only a minute long, contrasting with the lengthy song on Dear G-D, but has an effect that is instantly notable. The mild synthesizer, quiet guitars, and rolling hit-hat heavy drum licks make the song speak about passing time, change, and fear even without lyrics. The track quiets and bleeds seamlessly into “The Poets Cry For More”; a song that progresses into a strong companion for the impressive title track with static filtered lyrics and screams that raise hairs. However, “The Poets Cry For More” starts off a little shaky with clean vocalist, Michael McGough’s, lyrics falling a little short and a little too similar of “L’exquisite Douleur” (and later parts of “Even the Dead Had Their Task”) which makes these otherwise original songs too similar.
Being As An Ocean is able to bring it back with the next song “We Drag the Dead On Leashes”. Lyrically and stylistically, this song is the odd one out on the album, which is not a bad thing. It has a brighter polish; clean lyrics are cleaner, screams are more passionate, the tempo is fast, the tone is bright and hopeful, and the lyrics are some of the strongest, ringing true to anyone who has struggled with insecurity. (“But if we learn to let go/ we don’t have to play out this tragedy. / Forgive the things you hate in yourself / so that you might be grace to someone else.”) Maybe that is why it stands out so much.
“Grace, Teach Us What We Lack” and “Mother” stand out from the album in the negative sense of the word because they do not have that strong tempo, lyric, and rhythm style that held the majority of the album together and even propelled it above average. To finish off the album, “Nature” takes a very strange turn as it pulls in an overpowering synthesizer in the beginning of the song. Although the lyrics are interesting and the background sound and drums are quite soothing as the intensity builds, the effect is lost by the distracting techno filters.
Overall, How We Both Wondrously Perish pushes Being As An Ocean through their development at an indelibly fast speed. New additions make a positive and memorable take on the band by creating stronger melodies, lyrics, and music over all. This album is concise, polished, and most importantly, stylish. With lyrics that are relatable and complex, even if at times they sound too similar, How We Both Wondrously Perish is able to pull in listeners and fans from all walks of life and take them through an original story of resilience. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5.