Southern California melodic post-hardcore outfit, Being As An Ocean just released their emotive new album ‘Death Can Wait ’ via Out of Line Music. This extremely personal set of songs is loaded with pure emotion and continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be a band in the modern music scene.
From the first moment of the first track, titled Beautiful Agony, the gravity of this album sets in and settles heavily on the listener. Twenty seconds later, the deep, vocoded vocal says, "I desire peace, I'm having trouble with the chaos hand in me..." The steady, rhythmic chanting continues and is accompanied by yelling, as is a signature staple for the duo. A poetic voice speaks in a desperate tone about finding the meaning of life in determination, the beauty through suffering, and the value in its fleeting nature. "Tragedy and grief repeat, but there is a peace found between." Finally, in a mournful sigh, the tension is released as the music slams in. All at once, you have arrived, and they make it clear that you haven't arrived alone.
Every track creates a sense of community, a sense that you are part of something bigger, even if that something bigger is painful. One would be hard-pressed to feel completely alone and misunderstood after hearing this album. One would also be hard-pressed to find a flaw in its production. From the rumbling guitars to the melodic vocals, the urgently poetic yelling and the classic hardcore screams and grunts, this album is everything you know and love about Being As An Ocean, and it is executed with chaotic precision.
Swallowed By The Earth is a modern post hardcore sound mottled with classic hardcore callbacks in some of the screamed vocals, and is an invitation to be undignifiedly human. In short, come be imperfect with us. It is a safe place for the soul in suffering. A place for misery to find the company it aches for.
Purest Love, the third track on the album, can be described best in one word: anticipation. Its ethereal, atmospheric start crashes into the music in a way that still breeds anticipation, an urging forward. The yelling vocal feels like it leads the beat, and it's apparent why. Pain, suffering, and grief are acknowledged. They surround us and permeate through much of what we experience on a daily basis, and Joel Quartuccio and Michael McGough wish they could provide some semblance of relief. Understanding the inescapable struggle, they offer, "I will struggle with you."
Every bit of understanding and empathy that they offer is also met with a willingness to take action and avoid stagnancy. ...Gave It A Voice So That My Heart Could Speak even sounds like a call to action with the powerful, poignant lead guitar riff that carries us into the first verse. The song admits weakness and vulnerability, but does not allow that to be an excuse for inaction.
"When we feel the lowest, we must press in the hardest. Don’t wait, just be the change. Don’t let your anger be misplaced.”
But this also isn't a careless shove into the unknown. Rather, it is a heartfelt encouragement to live life to the fullest, a beckoning to leave behind hesitancy. At the end, they also express appreciation and gratitude for those who urged them on through their own difficult moments as they say, "I feel you with me."
Tracks number 6 and 7 are titled Flesh And Bone and Gloom, and both are songs of juxtapose. Flesh And Bone accentuates the authenticity of humanity, and the reality of the presence of the bitter as a way to help us appreciate the sweet. There is peace, and there is desperation. There is love, and there is a loneliness that is palpable because one knows love so well. Gloom, on the other hand, speaks more directly to the presence of darkness and death as a way to accentuate the stars and vibrancy of the moments that make life precious.
The latter tracks on this album nod more directly to the influence of an underlying Christian message in their songs. This is especially heard in Paradise in My Mind, Snake, and The Fullness Of My Being, albeit in very different ways. The first dwells on a desire to experience a perfect form of life, life as it is anticipated to be in the Heavenly realm. More specifically, this desire is for an inner paradise and a peaceful mind. Snake, on the other hand, makes a direct reference to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 which says, "You will crush his head and he will strike your heel." However, this song is from the perspective of a person who has learned the ways of the world and fights with his inner demons as he says, "Shall I lash out or watch the heel pass over," struggling between reacting in peace or in retaliation.
Finally, we reach the title track Death Can Wait. The message of this song can be seen in various ways in every other track on the album, but it is most direct and punctuated by an unmistakable message:
"With one foot in life and the other in the grave, you can’t keep living like death can wait... None of us choose to be here, but we’re privileged to stay."
Arguably the most radio-friendly track on the album, this guitar-driven song has modern pop elements interwoven with those regularly seen in hardcore music, and displays a dynamic range that elevates the earworm hook.
The final track of the album is titled The Fullness Of My Being, and closes out the body of music with more of everything we love about this band. The way the guitar and synth is mixed in a way that is pleasantly disgusting and exactly what the song calls for. There is an ever-present chaos on display in the production, and as much as Death Can Wait is arguably the most radio-friendly, The Fullness Of My Being is arguably the most Being As An Ocean. Everything that is loved about this band is heard in this song, and it is done to a chaotic, abominable perfection.
Overall, this album was done with excellence, precision, and passion. If you take nothing else away from these songs, you are left knowing you're not alone, and that this life is beautiful because of the darkness, as well as in spite of it.