In today’s hardcore music scene, young bands have proven that it is extremely easy to blend in. All you have to do is go to any hardcore label’s Facebook page, and you’ll find that their wall is plastered with posts from college-aged bands all with very similar names, near-identical promos, lyric videos, and songs that strictly follow the “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-breakdown-chorus” formula. When I first discovered this genre, almost any band could grab my interest. Now, however, I may only stumble upon one or two real gems in the genre within the span of several months.
Being As An Ocean is one of those gems. Now let me start off by saying that I rarely purchase albums after only hearing a small portion of what the album has to offer. Music is just too expensive to purchase impulsively. But after listening to the title track from the band’s debut album Dear G-d…, I was left with no choice. This band is the first I’ve ever heard to completely fuse together the instruments of a contemporary worship band and the vocals of a post-hardcore band. Every song on the record is beyond beautiful, and often in different ways. The title track features guitars that never once use distorted tones, yet it possesses some of the most grizzly vocals on the album. Meanwhile, songs like “The Sea Always Seems to Put Me at Ease” create a much darker and solemn tone for the midsection of the album. It is songs like this where we get a taste of vocalist Joel Quartuccio’s most emotional moments. He manages to strain his voice in such a way that you can almost feel the sadness or compassion that he is feeling.
Going into this album, I was expecting a mixture of heavy and soft. Even those few bands that are daring enough to scream over clean instruments cave in at some point. But like I said, Being As An Ocean proves to be capable of maintaining their own style throughout the record’s entirety. The only track containing a breakdown is “Humble Servant, Am I,” which is already strong enough to withstand any kind of musical digression such as this.
The only possible drawback of Dear G-d… is a few passages that repeat far too long – not a common problem for any band. For example, the verse in “The Hardest Part” goes on for over two minutes with relatively little variation. Note that I merely referred to this as a ‘possible’ drawback; considering the fact that this sets them even further apart from average modern bands, some may view this as a positive trait. It occurs multiple other times throughout the album, but I would argue that it generally does not deter from the overall experience of listening to this wonderfully crafted piece of art.
The melodious guitar parts woven throughout this record add the finishing touch to an otherwise untouchable debut release. Guitarists Jacob Prest and Tyler Ross consistently impressed me with their intricate parts, flowing steadily from one song to the next. My favorite ‘riff,’ if you will, is featured in the beginning of “We Will Never Be the Same.” In fact, the majority of the guitar work in this song is extremely creative and fun to listen to. Many bands try to put emotion in their lyrics, but Being As An Ocean can easily fill their guitar parts with it.
For those of you who are fans of melodic hardcore bands such as Hundredth, Counterparts and Defeater, this album is for you. Dear G-d… is crammed with honesty and passion from start to end, showcasing the band’s ability to write heartfelt lyrics and express them through captivating and carefully constructed instrumental arrangements. Being As An Ocean is one of the few young bands that I believe has the potential to change a rapidly rotting music scene.