Oceans Ate Alaska @ Mama Roux’s, 26th July 2017

Oceans Ate Alaska

Up first, supporting Oceans Ate Alaska, we had Failure Is An Option, a midlands-based metal band who I’ve seen once before when they opened for Bad Omens at The Flapper a few months back. Their style is a mix of emo; especially with clean singer Matt’s singing, intertwined expertly with Brandon’s guttural death growling and screams. Throw in a few beefy riffs and the fact that every member is enjoying themselves and you have a promising metal band indeed.

Failure Is An Option

Next up we had another equally impressive up-and-comer. Scottish ‘Djentcore’ band ‘Lotus Eater‘ came onstage and immidiately threw the room into a green haze with the lights; which I’ll admit made photographing them more difficult but worked well in adding intrigue and hype amongst the local Brummies.

Lotus Eater

Their style can be described as a mix of metalcore; aggressive and deep screams by lead singer Jamie, with shoutier lines thrown in reminiscient of Architect’s Sam Carter. The technical aspects of their songs can be compared with Emmure and Periphery; piercing and edgy with some nice tempo changes. Give ‘Crooked’ and ‘Dead To Me’ a listen and you can thank me later.

Our Hollow, Our Home, very much reminiscient of the headliner in terms of style; metalcore with a fast technical side to them. The lead singer Connor reminded me Bury Tomorrow’s Dani-Winter Bates; punchy and tight screaming, wrapped neatly around Tobias Young’s melodic cleans.

Our Hollow, Our Home

Kicking off early in their set with bangers such as ‘Loneshark’ and ‘Hartsick’, the band set the tempo for what was to come; a Parkway Drive-esque celebration of melodic metal at it’s finest. ‘Loneshark’ in particular impressed me with it’s timing and how the guitars shift between fast shredded notes and then crush down with riffs riffs and more riffs.
‘Worms Wood’ and ‘Karmadillo’ saw them triumph on with their latest album release ‘Hartsick’ (2017) and lyrically the band explored the concept of abandonment and fear with finding strength to rise up; sharing similarities with Aussie metalcore band Parkway Drive and the ‘Ire’ (2015) album in particular.

Throwing in their cover of ‘Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran just proves how diverse the metal scene has become over the past few years; metalheads often liking and enjoying other genres of music instead of the archiac ‘metal elite’ snobbery I’ve seen at times. It’s a very decent cover and the two vocalists do a cracking job.

Oceans Ate Alaska

Shortly before Oceans Ate Alaska came onstage, I heard a fan at the front shout that he was from New York and came over to the UK just to see them. Hats off to you, Sir. Before they arrived they played a sound clip from the Animated TV series ‘Rick and Morty’; it included the speech Rick gave at the end of the first episode in Season 3; in which he announces his psychotic love for McDonalds’ Limited Edition Szechuan Sauce. I’ve said it before and I will say it again; a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously gains a tonne of respect in my eyes. I’m a fan of the show and a lot of the people in the room were too; there were laughs and smiles all around.

Oceans Ate Alaska released their debut album ‘Lost Isles’ in 2015 and since then have been praised by RockSound and even played Vans Warped Tour 2016. Their aggressively fast and technical take on the metalcore scene has been a revelation amongst fans. Tonight they touring across the UK, celebrating the release of their second album ‘Hikari’ (2017) which translates to ‘light’ in English.

‘If you know our band, then you know this song’, Jake Noakes, Oceans Ate Alaska.

Oceans Ate Alaska

‘Clocks’ released back in 2011 from their EP ‘The Deep’ was a nostalgic one for the fans. ‘Killing time, while time slowly kills us’, was chanted and echoes throughout the entire venue. New singer Jake Noakes performs the song well when compared against the older singer James Harrison. The high screams reminscient of old Oliver Sykes. The mosh pits were in full force and in such an intimate venue it was a violent experience.

‘Blood Brothers’ from ‘Lost Isles’ (2015) was equally appreciated by fans; the band displaying their exquisite technical ability over and over again with complex tempo changes and tight yet sporadic guitar work. Their style is so layered and rich with multiple things going on at once and changing about before you’ve even had the chance to think; their music overpowers you on every level, all the way down to the Tasmanian Devil that is Chris Turner on drums.

Oceans Ate Alaska

‘Hansha’ from ‘Hikari’ (2017) saw more of Jake Noakes’ melodic cleans, paired with the piercing djents, frequently sporadic yet again, bursting into a breakdown towards the end which saw Jake unleash his screams which didn’t disappoint with newer material. The Japansese influence is noticeable and the soundscapes which start and end the song give it an epic feel which I liked. ‘Hikari’ also impressed me, the band is evidently lighter but by no means any less worth of praise here. Jake’s cleans bring the band into a whole new level of diversity and makes you question what metalcore actually is; many of the songs on ‘Hikari’ are quite long (5 minutes plus) and the Prog Metal, almost experimental, feel is definitely there. The vocals; in conjuction with Chris’ velocity on the drums was a visceral experience; aspects of many more than just one or two metal genres.

Oceans Ate Alaska

‘Deadweight’ from ‘Hikari’ (2017) gave us back Jakes’ delightful screams and growls; with the guitars here reminding me of Death Metal; some parts the high pitched whines of the guitars giving the song a ‘shock horror’ aspect; seen in bands such as Cannibal Corpse. The lyrics here took a darker turn; much more reminiscient of their older ’emo’ style. Loved it.
Overall it was a triumph of a night for the band in their hometown. They came and showed how much energy and technical ability they have and enjoyed every second infront of a local crowd. Even after the second song the drummer Chris took his shirt off and got down to business right from the get go.

I will be seeing this band again and it is now no doubt to me why they are so successful; having played all over the world and amassed a large fanbase. They’re different and extremely talented.

Review and photographs by Neale Hayes

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