Reclining on the shores of the Baltic Sea we find the beautiful capital of Estonia, Tallinn, hometown to four-piece instrumental act Ocean Districts (Martin Lepalaan – Guitars, Taavi Liinak – Guitars, Tanel Kõnd – Bass, Stanley Love – Drums). Informed by the picturesque beauty of their hometown and the surrounding country, as well as the bleak Estonian history marked by continuous invasions and oppression, the band deliver a heavy, progressive and sludgy post-rock sound in the tradition of Red Sparowes and If These Trees Could Talk. With their 2014 debut album Expeditions the Estonian quartet built a sound that is both weighty and vigorous, oftentimes bathing in elegant beauty but also packing some hard punches. The success of this album also led to shows with God Is An Astronaut in Estonia and Latvia, an extensive touring in Finland and supporting gigs with Sólstafir, Alcest and Dirge. Ocean Districts’ latest EP “Doomtowns” constitutes a leap forward for the band, further expanding upon the sound of their debut album with the addition of a new drummer and more elaborate production values. Where their debut album was mainly inspired by exploring nature and epic voyages, Ocean Districts now look elsewhere for inspiration for their new EP. Doomtowns considers the nuclear tests conducted by the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War-era, taking a more solemn and political approach. Over the second half of the 20th century, both superpowers detonated nuclear bombs in remote locations in order to test their effectiveness and their impact on the environment. While the scope of this record might be considered historical – the album name referring to the fake towns built by the United States to simulate real urban environments – Doomtowns proves to be socially relevant even today with the denuclearisation of Korea and rising tensions between current major powers being the frequent subjects in the public discourse. This is reinforced by the use of spoken word samples from the movie Atomic Cafe, which grant the album a sarcastic undertone that is typical for contemporary political expressions.
Doomtowns presents the listener with five songs that explore the careful balance between gentle melodic passages and sludgy riffing, spiced up by a muscular metal drumming which greatly expands the album’s sonic range. While it is especially recommended for listeners of heavy post-rock and post-metal, listeners who have a penchant for progressive rock and post-hardcore can also find a lot to like about Doomtowns.
[October 12th 2018]
Instrumental, Post-Rock, Metal, Rock
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