Review: Ocean of Grief – Fortress of My Dark Self

Coming in at five tracks with a total run time of 26 minutes, Ocean of Grief’s ‘Fortress of My Dark Self’ is a solid extended play in terms of monetary value. Musically, this doom meets melodic death with tinges of progressive approach works quite well and is strongly reminiscent of Opeth. The keyboards set a haunting tone and drive a chilling atmosphere, while the hard strums and chugging riffs of the rhythm guitar and bass, deep, foreboding death growls, and thumping of the drums give each song a hard edge. Meanwhile, the howling melodies of the lead guitar give each song a unique quality. Honestly, though, ‘Fortress of My Dark Self’ is a bit underwhelming as its doom qualities are a bit too dominant. And while many adore the slow pace of doom metal, this album could have been so much more with a little faster tempo here and there. That being said, the vocals are also a little underwhelming. Charalabos Oikonomopoulos has a powerful growl reminiscent of Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth, which speaks for itself, but his voice feels underutilized. I really feel like this extended play could have really shined if the vocals were more versatile and prominent. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Fortress for My Dark Self’ is a solid first offering from Ocean of Grief. In fact, the first release is generally a band’s means of testing the waters. That being said, this is a solid first entry even with its minor flaws. In fact, if Ocean of Grief grows from here, we can expect something grandiose when the band unleashes its debut full length. 7/10

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