Words – Richard Grimm
Photos – Mitch & dio_cassidy / hookriffandbanger

German post-metal powerhouse The Ocean have finally graced Australia after a half-decade. They arrived in support of last years cut “Holocene” and boy were their Melbourne fans keen as beans for a show. The line extended around the corner from the iconic 170 Russell street, down 2 blocks and into a seedy ass alley. Destroy All Lines did a solid job getting 3 bands from across the world onto a single lineup with the United States’ Cave In and Danish soundscapers LLNN working together to fill the venue with eager prog and experimental music enjoyers.

LLNN caught my attention nearly immediately as they washed the room with deep distorted and destructive cinematic soundscapes that evoked scenes from the Dune series in my mind’s eye. Unfortunately, while the inaugural ambience was nearing its climax, the Danes were fucked by the long dick of technical difficulties. Like true pros, however, they gave exactly zero shits about it and powered through into some truly devastating sounds. LLNN’s set was a masterclass of sludge riffs, downtempo grooves and truly oppressive synth pads that growled with the thunder of a million Surturs. Their energy was world class with every band member taking a personal vendetta against the very notion of stillness. My personal highlight of the set was the song Scion, (or K-hole the musical as I affectionately referred to it to my friends on the night) which had some proper cinematic sound design in it and really made me feel like I was in war of the worlds.


Next band up was Cave In performing for the first time in Australia after being active for nearly 3 decades and I gotta say you could really tell that they were stoked to be here. My initial impression from the group was a somewhere between desert Queens of the Stone Age and Gay Paris. They definitely have their own thing going on but that’s probably the closest acts I could compare them to. There was a lot to like about this group and it’s a shame it took them this long to get here. For a start, 3-part harmonies while everyone is playing an instrument will never not give my ears a boner and bassist Nate Newton has an absolute girthquake of a bass tone. My favourite track of the evening was Careless Offering. It had all the ingredients for a banger: killer riff, little bit of a dance mood, a bridge drop that hit like a 1987 Mike Tyson after someone talked shit about his lisp and, (the most important part) a moment where the band drops out for a harmonized guitar lick.


Cave In are a very versatile band, clearly being influenced from all over the place with sections of songs ranging in intensity and timbre. Moments punctuated by heaviness, psychedelia, electronica and classic rock without any of them feeling out of place. They won a fan out of me with that performance and I doubt I was alone in that experience. 

After Cave In I moved a little closer to the stage to really enjoy The Ocean and struck up some convos with a few people around me to try and get a feel for the general opinion of the room. One guy had this to say

The Ocean are one of the most unique bands in the world and its sick because they lean into it. There is no one else like them” – Random guy I met.

The room settles and we’re treated to a show of violet lights and heavy smoke, the mood is set and The Ocean enters the stage. The stage aesthetics were on another level with this group. The band fanned out across the stage, creating a cohesive and symmetrical view of their silhouettes, emanating unified command across the band. Behind the performers, a continuously evolving image of geometric patterns and shapes twisted and developed for the entire set which helped draw us in and keep us immersed in the developing sonic tapestries that would be woven.

Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger

The Ocean delivered what felt like a very curated and deliberate performance, their choice in setlist effectively being a slow descent into heaviness. Each track played being slightly heavier than the one before gradually moving from gentle atmospheric soundscapes in songs like Boreal all the way into black metal influenced walls of distortion like in the track Bathyalpelagic III: Disequilibrated. Much like Cave In before them I was very happy to see a band pull off some more 3 part harmonies to perfection and I was even treated to that blast beat I craved from earlier in the night. The track Pleistocence had what I though was the biggest drop of the night and I was super about it.

Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger
Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger
Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger

A very immersive and textural experience overall. The group nearly lost me with their use of backing tracks toward the start of the set but it was only for a few tracks so I can forgive them… this time. The Ocean are definitely a unique act and are doing interesting things in metal right now, I look forward to seeing where they go from here.

Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger
Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger
Credit – @dio_cassidy & @hookriffandbanger

Thanks to the 170 Rusell Street crew for having us and special thanks to Tiana at Dallas Does PR for arranging media access.