This album comprises two progressive tracks of post metal and doom, each of over 20 minutes duration. I read that some of this comes from the Finnish band’s 2015 “Sunless” album sessions. And here’s the interesting thing: there are passages of gigantic melancholy where the sun is conspicuous by its absence. Yet the evolution is steady and beautiful at times, at other times harsh. After a patient opening,”A Storm Sermon”   takes us through a panoply of emotions, rising to epic heights here and dragging us through growly doom there. Strange sounds, ringing guitars and a haunting voice find doomy mysticism. Passages do not blend into the next, which I found disconcerting and disjointed but the passages themselves without fail have immense atmospheres and import. The ringing guitar restarts in post rock style and signal a build up of sizeable proportions. This build up is classic. We stick around to find out what’s going to happen. There is an explosion and as the instrumentals provide the surge and the firepower, the vocalist, from whom there have been transient interventions, roars on. The mood changes and the world is ponderous and doom-like again.

“In Amidst the Silent Thrones” quickly migrates to the default position of doom. I thought there was more in the progressive post metal passages. I didn’t have to wait long until there is one. Tension is in the air as the drum pops. Oceanwake’s world expands. Growls interplay with pagan vocals. The direction changes again into a melancholic guitar passage. This is like a colourful experimental session. As the track grows in its epic nature, an expansive wall of sound signals the release of a progressive post doom romp, before it dies down to quieter tones. Suddenly there is an explosion, and fire enters the scene for a short while. Up and down, up and down goes the track. It’s kind of exhausting. The drum pops once more, and the guitar rings sadly. There’s a misty air – I like it – and out of the fog comes another harsh death-doom session. It’s hard to settle to the mood that Oceanwake are seeking to convey. It’s not jazz in any way but the structure has that air of provocation that jazz structures can have. So we lurch from one hefty scene to another. As “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” bounces along deeply and darkly, that pagan-style vocal line cuts in. For me this made the already unfathomable still more unfathomable, yet I loved the epic build-up, which followed it. The drum pops again, the guitar rings with intent and other-worldly majesty, bring this most mysterious albums to a magnificent close.

I know it’s progressive but I was expecting more continuity than this. Passages don’t transform naturally but impressive as they are, they bludgeon us unsympathetically with power and switches of style, which were as changeable as British weather. I felt that the links could have been more overlaid and connected to get more of a sense of day turning into night and vice versa, but then I guess that’s just not the way that Oceanwake do it.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)