Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: Ocean's Next Victim - Giving Life to the Dead (2009)

Release Date: March
Length: 43:00
Genre: Electronic

 Giving Life to the Dead is the 2009 debut album of Ocean's Next Victim, a not-so-well-known amateur musician and composer. With a style of music combining the piano with the synth, the only possible way of classifying this music would be to call it a love child concieved between a video game score and a concept album of trance-infused hip hop beats (Notably, the album includes a cover of a well known theme in Silent Hill 2).

 When I approached to review this album, I thought that I was going to have to look at it leniently under the circumstances that it was the album of some no name with no built fanbase with the appearance of doing this "just because", and was expecting that I was going to be listening to some guy playing instruments through a low grade microphone. I was in for a big surprise. Not only was the album produced in a moderately high quality (with the exception of three to five songs on this fifteen track album), but I was left with the impression that Ocean's Next Victim actually cared about his music. Granted, effort isn't worth any points in a music review, but I figure that it was worth mentioning just because its a nice change to to what I've come to expect out of similar circumstances.

With a preceeding comment like this, you might think that I'm going to give this a glowing review. Well, you'd probably have good reason to think that, but in this case, you wouldn't actually be correct. I have some serious problems with this album in terms of track order. I feel like this album would have been a much more enjoyable experience if the album was cut to about nine songs with the other songs to act as B-sides. For instance, the song Okeanos has a nice beat and tempo, but it would also be fair to say that the album only needs one song with a tempo and beat like this. This album carries at least a few songs with a similar structure (only with different notes and layering), such as A Snake of June, The Price of a Life, and Exhumed and Depraved. Not only this, but a few of the songs also suffer from noticably weaker composition than the other songs on Giving Life to the Dead (Fracture-Disassemble, the aforementioned The Price of a Life, and Dead Weight (A Reflection of Genocide Pt.1)).

On the other side of things, the album also has several tracks that are damn good, my favorite of which is the piano heavy track Paradice. The Akira Yamaoka inspired tracks are also really well done (oddly enough, the best song fitting under this description is in fact the song he covered, Laura's Requiem -- originally Laura's Theme (Reprise)). If I had to say, the thing about this album that impressed me more than anything else was the integration of synth used, particularly on the song 42686, which almost sounds Justice or Daft Punk inspired (While obviously not getting near a Daft Punk level of awesome).

 All in all, this album is alright. While having notable hindering faults which will keep this album out of the B range, Giving Life to the Dead contains a few great pieces which make this free album definitely worth a quick listen.

Grade: C+
Notable Tracks: Paradice, Laura's Requiem, 42686

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