March 8, 2012

Review: Oceans of Night-Domain

Domain is the second release for the dynamic Oceans of Night.  Started as a solo project by lead guitarist and keyboardist Scott Mosher, Oceans of Night is now a full-fledged band after adding Scott Oliva as the lead vocalist with the drums and percussion being handled by “the musical enigma” Alan Smithee.  The unique sound is something that will become engrained after a few listens.  With the musical ingredients of “20 lbs. of crushing heavy metal, 10 lbs. of guitar-driven hard rock, a progressive approach to rhythmic meter and song composition, mixed with 32 oz. of ambient/trance music, add a dash of electronic new age, and a dose of pop music sensibility... shake, stir, and imbibe,” Domain is an album that begs to be experienced.

The opener “Domain” is first track to end all first tracks. The beginning is ambient and otherworldly building up anticipation for the rest of the song, and the rest of the album as well.  The bar is set high with this seventeen minute plus epic.  The booming drums work to build up the excitement before the other instruments jump into the fray.  Around the halfway point of the song, the tempo slows down as if the song is recharging because it starts to build back-up again.  Also, there is a certain power in the vocals like a majestic quality as if he is singing down and imparting knowledge to the listener.   

The synth opening with guitar and drums on “Don’t Look to Me” makes for an interesting melodic sound, one of the many sounds featured on the album.  It is musically different from the previous song, which is a good sign by mixing things up and keeping the music fresh as the album progresses.  “Dreams in Artificial Sunlight” is heavier on the music than the vocals and the results are fantastic.  At the mid point of the album, “Divisions in Time” focuses more on the ambient side of the music scale while mixing with some hard rocking.

“Seven Days of Rains” keeps the mix of genres coming.  The opening takes the title literally with sounds of life and nature.  It makes one feel like spending some time in nature and not many songs can give out that feeling.  “The View to You” is semi-epic love song clocking in at over eight minutes, which would usually be considered a long song, but not on an album where it is only half the running time of the longest.  The beginning sports some nice hard rock before quieting down and becomes more harmonious.  The vocals really shine on this one, as well, as they soar above the music. 

“Instruments of Fear” is an exciting and invigorating instrumental.  The guitars come out blazing and there is definitely more of the rock/metal vibe from this song. With its surreal sound, “The Future Remembered” is almost dream-like in quality really. The whole song is like a dark lullaby. “Ghosts of the Past” is a nice cap-off by demonstrating everything that has made album a joy to listen to.

Oceans of Night’s Domain is a triumph of the imagination and musical ingenuity.  It is one album that certainly should not be passed over, as this is not your usual progressive band.   It is sure to thrill lovers of rock and progressive sounds from all of the solar system. 

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Domain, Dreams in Artificial Sunlight, Instruments of Fear, The Future Remembered

Brian McKinnon

March 8, 2012

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