It seems like all I talk about these days when it comes to my reviews is how a band has transitioned into a new version of themselves. Made a stylistic change that sometimes differs so greatly from what the band was before that it becomes my job to help clarify what that all means before the general public hears the whole album. Well sit down (and maybe strap yourselves in) folks, because that’s exactly what’s about to happen here and this one for some, could be a doozy. It’s actually a touch hard to say whether this bands evolution has come naturally and in a way that has made sense, or if it’s much more drastic than that and will throw so many completely off. To be honest I truly do think it’s a bit of both, for we all know that Being As An Ocean (Or often referred to as BAAO) has never been afraid to push the envelop when it came to their once-upon-a-time genre of melodic hardcore. With their last album entitled, Waiting For Morning To Come we saw the greatest alteration to the groups sound yet at that time. Even though Being As An Ocean had rarely ever been strangers to added an ambient touch or two to their songs, there was now an almost jaw dropping amount of electronic elements strewn heavily throughout the album. As surprising as this was for some, it actually didn’t take away from an overall dark and moody sound that was part of the group’s signature. We now come to their upcoming release, PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story, a concept album it feels not only in storyline but in sound as well. The overlying story is set far in the future where an individual has created an artificial intelligence to save the world after a great war. But the individual soon realizes the best laid plans of your own are not always what’s best for all else. As grand as this plotline is, I assure you the sound follows suit. Once again, the electronic aspects have been ramped up even greater than what was on Waiting For Morning… almost to a point one may compare the overall sound to what would be reminiscent of plenty of pop songs these days. But perhaps one of the biggest surprises comes with lead vocalist Joel Quartuccio’s massive leap into a world of almost zero screams. Shocking, but I assure you not unwelcome. This is a whole new chapter for Being As An Ocean in quite a dramatic way.
FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY
If there’s one thing the band put a shit-ton of time and thought into, it’s the overall flow of each track into the next. From the beginning intro to the final outro, every song oozes seamlessly into the next. As this album’s storyline is set in the 2100’s, there is an overall spacey and futuristic vibe to all of the songs which translates perfectly into how it all fits together. “Play Pretend” has an almost vibe and flow similar to Bring Me The Horizon’s “Mantra” where it combines both the rock and electronic world perfectly which then without a hitch plays into “Find Our Way” which finds even more of those electronic and ambient details being thrown into the mix without yet losing the full rock feel as well. It seems as if the intro, interlude, and outro were almost bookends for the overall flow of genres and elements. After each you’d start off with what one would consider to be more on the rock side of sounds then with each track leading to the interludes, each song would become much more electronic.
I believe this album will ultimately have a great deal of stay power, whether that be for good reasons or not. Without a doubt there will be fans of new and old that fall in love with PROXY… for a multitude of reasons. No one could deny that so many of the tracks fit the literally epitome of being catchy. If you’re digging what you hear, then you’ll find yourself humming along, tapping your feet or both at some point. There are plenty of songs you’ll find get stuck in your head for days, and in this writer’s humble opinion that’s only because you can’t help but fall in love with certain tracks. Songs like “Skin”, “Demon” and “Watch Me Bleed” will assuredly amongst the most standout songs that you’ll love to singalong to. But speaking from a pragmatic point of view, I can also see why some will use this album as the constant comparison to where ‘things went wrong’ for Being As An Ocean, if for no other reason that this album is such a drastic change and there’s plenty that can’t handle something like that or simply don’t want to accept the change. Nonetheless I definitely feel this album will be a topic of speech for quite some time to come.
Is the overall sound and storyline the most original thing I or you will have ever heard? Sadly no. But when it comes to BAAO specifically this is entirely new ground. Regardless of the fact that yes, each tracks story does account for a greater meaning, it is still riddled with lore and metaphor. This for sure is the most out there concept the group has utilized yet, and that’s almost what makes it work so perfectly. For BAAO at least, this is almost entirely new and different from anything they have done before.
Lifted from the new Being As An Ocean album ‘PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story’, out Sept 13th 2019 on 2LP, CD and digital Pre-order/Pre-save: https://backl.ink/PROXY This video contains scenes of ritualistic drug use and violence. Viewer discretion is advised. Director: BRUME Executive Producer: Mike Lev Producer: Ricky Rosario Jr.
VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION
This is the second review I’ve done recently where the lead vocalist who once heavily relied on screams, and rarely if ever had any clean vocal passages has now almost completely transitioned to the latter. Joel Quartuccio actually only has a few screamed deliveries on the entire album, and even though I never saw that coming, I like many others was shocked upon initially hearing “Play Pretend” and “Find Our Way”. One may have thought this too bold of a move, especially when you have such a powerhouse of a clean vocalist when it comes to Michael McGough, but luckily for us fans Quartuccio’s clean vocals only add to the desired atmosphere of PROXY… . I wouldn’t say that he has shown us whether or not he has the most grand of scales, yet his deep voice fits the moody aspects of the album perfectly. A track like “Brave” perfectly exemplifies this. The song is sad and slow, and Quartuccio’s vocals only accentuate this sentiment in the most wondrous of ways. As in most albums since his early addition, Michael McGough’s singing is mainly featured during the choruses. As always this adds a fantastic impact in the most perfect of places. One of the best moves BAAO ever made was adding McGough and he continues to show why on PROXY… . A perfect example of this is actually a song that not only showcases McGough in the choruses, but in the opening verse as well, “See Your Face”.
The instrumentation on Proxy… much like on Waiting For Morning… is heavily hidden under the electronic elements and peddles that are used, but believe it or not, this album actually has more songs who’s forefront are actual instruments as opposed to what feels like a machine. Simplistic in nature but perfectly utilized for the overall feel of the album. I feel as if the writing choices for the instrumentation was absolutely perfect for Proxy… .
Provided to YouTube by Believe SAS Find Our Way · Being As An Ocean Find Our Way ℗ Being As An Ocean under exclusive license to Believe Released on: 2019-08-16 Author: Joel Quartuccio Composer: Joel Quartuccio Author: Michael McGough Composer: Michael McGough Author: Ralph Sica Composer: Ralph Sica Author: Tyler Ross Composer: Tyler Ross Composer: Zakk Cervini Auto-generated by YouTube.
COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION
One Could only imagine what must have gone into the writing of PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O Story. The painstaking detail that must have gone into every aspect. It’s actually quite obvious that no stone was left unturned when searching each and every best avenue to come out with the final result. Not only do the songs flow so well together because of how each one sounds, but obviously because there was a story to be told which followed a specific timeline. The interludes weren’t just placed on a lark; there’s a reason for each one, and when the listener closes their eyes to hear each and every layer of sound, you’ll begin to understand why and how they were chosen to be on the record. As stated so many times this is a story, and the words in each track feel more like that than ever simply ‘just’ lyrics. Every aspect of the writing is so beautifully executed that you’ll be left wishing this was the story your parents told you at bedtime, or as if it could be the most excellent script for a modern-day sci-fi movie.
The production mirrors the composition exquisitely. Regardless of any so-called simplistic instrumentation, each song is so multifaceted with its rich layers of sounds and elements, that if the production had been even remotely lackluster then then the whole album would have failed. The sounds are so crisp and clean, it would be a shame to call the production anything but complete harmonious perfection.
Yup. This is a VERY different Being As An Ocean. PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story finds the group using aspects of what had begun on Waiting For Morning To Come and blew them up in an incredibly large way. Although the band has once again found themselves utilizing their instruments in a more straightforward way, one can’t deny that this album is highly electronic influenced, and has lost much of the heavy edge the group has had in the past both in their instruments and vocally. But one thing the band has grown on is their overall creativity. This album is extremely different yes, but it’s supposed to be. This is supposed to throw out any preconceived notions of what a band like BAAO is ‘supposed’ to be. Some will argue that this was too drastic of a change. That they’re not even really BAAO anymore. But really that’s just a load of horseshit that so many use as an excuse to express why they think a band has changed so much. Almost anyone could understand why evolutions like this can shock so many, yet I find that a lot of people can’t set a bands discography into individual release, but simply lump them all together and base their opinion of that. Being As An Ocean made this change on purpose. They wanted to start something new in their already incredible discography, and I feel if even one was to go on that alone they could see all that went into this new album. If you truly listened to and enjoyed Waiting For Morning To Come then this transition will be a lot easier for you. Albeit it wasn’t the most natural of evolutions, it still feels right.