Tuesday 12 December 2023

Partholón - The Ocean Pours In (Album Review)

Release Date: January/February 2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Ocean Pours In - Tracklisting

Skin Of The Beast

Gathered In Circles


Light Chamber

We Swallow The Ocean


Daniel Howard

Alan Setter

James Grannell

Barry Murray


The Ocean Pours In is the new album from Progressive Sludge/Post-Metallers Partholón who are based in South Coast Of Ireland. Playing within the Sludge/Post-Metal vortex with deep Progressive themes which weighs down heavily throughout the album. The album draws upon bands such as Mastodon, Neurosis, ISIS and Cult Of Luna with a sound that's quite multi-layered with the sludgy guitars playing music that's very opaque and quite therapeutic at the same time. There's a sense of Ambient Mysticism within the more sombre Psychedelic moments of the album when Partholón play a more nuanced style of Post-Rock/Post-Metal which comes across superbly well within the opening track Skin Of The Beast.

Skin Of The Beast opens with a threatening manner with an epic display of muscular Sludge Metal heaviness and aggressive vocals that are easy to follow and understand. The sounds become more experimental and even a more refined approach when Partholón opt for a riff-centric style of grooves that ends the song quite convincingly.

Second track Gathered In Circles sees Partholón become more Doom/Sludge Metal obsessed with harsh vocals dictating the creative vision for the whole album. The instrumental sounds take inspiration from the early 2000’s  era of Sludge/Post-Metal with a backdrop of progressive sludgy guitars moving into areas of stop/start progression. The atmosphere is ice cold with the production values having a menacing "DIY" flow to them which allows Partholón to include unsettling lyrics and bleak sounding vocals to the mix. The guitars have that early Mastodon-esque sound along with the narrative storytelling that both Mastodon and Neurosis are known for.

Third song Pillars allows Partholón delve into the modern era of Sludge/Post-Metal with some classic hard rock guitar solos being played along the way. The whole atmosphere is quite Ambient and dare I say upbeat in places with the band playing a flashier style of music where the extended guitar cues and solos show another different side to Partholón. Harsh vocals remain with cool sounding moments of Ambient Sounds and Sonic imagery moving the song to it's exhausting and emotionally satisfying conclusion. Perhaps the standout track on the album that allows Partholón to stand on their own creative merits and play an engaging and original style of their own making.

The final two tracks Light Chamber and We Swallow The Ocean sees Partholón continued experimentation and delving further with the Post-Metal creative template with Ambient Post-Rock sounds soon changing into ferocious moments of epic sounding Progressive Sludge Metal riffs. This part of the album can be quite slow-paced at times but Partholón keeps the mood emotionally engaging when the brutal Post-Metal moments appear. These two tracks offer nineteen minutes of the albums thirty eight minutes run time with Partholón adding a cool Modern Rock score to the Ambient moments of the track which once again showcases a different side to the band that was wholly unexpected but most definitely welcome. 

The Ocean Pours In has first rate production values that allows the album to have quite a contemporary cinematic feel. Partholón will no doubt make a mighty impression with the Sludge Metal/Post-Metal underground scenes. As this is an absolute BEAST of an album with intelligence to match.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe 

Thanks to Partholón for the promo.

The Ocean Pours In will be released in Early 2024 on CD/DD/Vinyl which Partholón will announce soon.


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