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Century - "Black Ocean" (CD)

Century - "Black Ocean" CD cover image

"Black Ocean" track listing:

1. Pantheon
2. Black Ocean
3. Erasure
4. Drug Mule
5. Equus
6. Rising Sun
7. Monolith
8. Daylight Algorithm
9. Dysgenics
10. Terror Starts at Home

Reviewed by on February 28, 2009

"...our smoke break in hell..."

By now you hate metalcore for the compromises it's made. All its concessions to the laziest parts of pop songwriting, all its degenerate backpedaling from the vicious primal coal it burned, all its candy-corn eagerness to prove the world's gnarliest guitar thugs just want to want sing along choruses after all, if only their secret hearts can get a chance on satellite radio. These days you're all used up, huffing gasoline in some ratty tenement basement, wearing out your cassette tapes blasting the Old Murderers again and again. Converge. Cave In. Botch. Coalesce. They knew the same secret that Century knows.

“Black Ocean” has the marrow of old-school metalcore, with all of the compact, furious jackhammer riffage that entails. But forget all the unrelenting assaults, as this album will hang on your brain's shadow because of one mellow, brief guitar solo on the title track. The riffs are cascading in and out, piling up claustrophobically, and then all sudden-like this mournful, winding lead guitar figure just appears. It coasts around on the staccato rhythms for ten seconds, and slips under, and then we're back to our smoke break in hell.

Century are a radical band, and they prove it in those ten seconds. The rare pretty parts on this album aren't there to make the heavy bits seem heavier, or because the band members want to dabble their pinkies in jazz fusion. The pretty parts on “Black Ocean” are like prom queens in slasher flicks. They're only there to get torn apart.

Music this dense and vicious can't overstay its welcome, or it'll run out of targets. Like the classic it is, “Black Ocean” closes out at thirty-three minutes, with no repetition, dull patches, or unnecessary notes. If you care about keeping the jocks with Livejournals out of metalcore, this album is an essential purchase, right after the Ritalin for that extra mosh pit edge.

Highs: Impossibly precise aural devastation that hates everything you stand for.

Lows: Provokes tension that you sure can't release while sitting there listening to an album.

Bottom line: It's like a haiku, but more like a chainsaw exploding.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)