Ocean Chief - Universums Härd

Ocean Chief Universums Härd cover
Ocean Chief
Universums Härd
I Hate
Ocean Chief are a Swedish band with a unique sound which combines sludge/doom metal with space rock and psychedelia. I’m not going to lie and pretend I already knew who they are in order to seem cool. Apparently, they’ve been around since 2001 and kept themselves busy all these years. A quick look at their site revealed they have six releases (including two split CDs) to their name. I’m here to talk about their new album though, so let’s get to it. It’s called “Universums Härd” and it’s the most primal doom/sludge metal thing I’ve heard in a long time.
Perhaps it will sound strange but this album reminded me a lot of the essence of “Bullhead” by the Melvins. They both share the same raw power and dark energy. Personally, I enjoyed the instrumental tracks much more than the ones with vocals. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind not having a clue what the dude was talking about (you see all the lyrics are in Swedish), I thought this adds to the mysticism and dark vibe of the whole album. (By the way, I also have no idea what Rammstein are talking about, but it works for them and I therefore, couldn’t care less). It’s just that when there are no lyrics involved the whole band seems to come together to produce some extraordinary dark and gloomy melodies. “Färden” is, in my opinion, the best example.
One thing that is incredible about this record is that it somehow uses its shortcomings (and there are a lot of those) to its advantage. I previously mentioned that the barbaric sound (gibberish-sounding to any non-Swedish speaking listener) only add to the result. So does the poor production sound. There’s no reason to deny that “Universums Härd” kinda sounds like there were no mixing sessions involved to its production. It’s almost as if every instrument was just dumped there and was left to find its way with the rest. But that also somehow makes the album sound even more primal, hence lifting the whole thing even higher. To be more accurate, it drops “Universums Härd” even further into the depths of Hades.
On the other hand, does it get tiring after a while? Yes, it does. But that’s to be expected when it comes to a doom/sludge metal record. To put it in another way, if you listen to the whole thing all the way through you can be sure that it will most definitely suck every happy thought from your mind.