The Ocean (commonly referred to as The Ocean Collective) is a band formed by guitarist Robin Staps in 2000 in Berlin, Germany. While the group has always had a very firm grounding in Progressive Sludge metal, the sound has been shown to be fairly varied since inception. This is due in no small part to the wide variety of members that have been part of the band. According to The Website over fifty people have been participants in The Ocean, so many that it's impossible to know exactly who has been involved. This has brought a range of sound into The Ocean, from post-metal to symphonic to hardcore. Robin Staps has consistently been the only member involved since the beginning, and has orchestrated members and performers from the beginning. This has allowed him to bring in relatively well-known vocalists in from Converge and Cave-In. This is why the band has been referred to more as a "collective" in the past, where various artists would record and tour with Staps, but not become permanent members. In 2009, Staps brought in a more stable line-up, cementing the band to function more as a group than a project by one person.
As one might guess from the name that oceanography is a theme. The Ocean shows up in most of the artwork and aesthetics of the band (just see the page image!). It shows up in many of the lyrics, and has even been the subject of an entire concept album. It figures, since Robin Staps has an interest in oceanography and likes scuba diving. Lyrics have deviated to other things, including philosophy, globalization of mankind, and two records entirely criticizing both Catholic and Protestant dogma.
- Robin Staps - Guitarist and composer
- Loic Rosetti - Vocals
- Paul Seidel - Drums
- Mattias Hägerstrand - Bass
Notable past members include Luc Hess, Louis Jucker and Jonathan Nido. Listing every past member would take far too long.
- Fluxion (2004)
- Aeolian (2005)
- Precambrian (2007)
- Heliocentric (2010)
- Anthropocentric (2010)
- Pelagial (2013)
- Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic (2018)
- Phanerozoic II (2020)
- Fogdiver (2003)
- Transcendental (2015) - Split with Mono
- Anything That Moves: The lyrics to "Dead Serious and Highly Professional". Appears to be a threat.
- Author Appeal: Robin Staps likes oceanography.
- Boléro Effect: They have some post-metal output, so this is expected. Most obvious in "Statherian".
- Cessation of Existence: Discussed in "Orosirian".
- Concept Album: Precambrian is ostensibly about the entire geological history of the Earth.
- Heliocentric critiques Christianity based on Catholic dogma and treatment of heretics. Anthropocentric continues the critiques, focusing more on protestantism, fundamentalism, and apologetics.
- Pelagial was originally written as an instrumental journey from the top of the ocean to the bottom. When vocals were added, the lyrics seemed to bring personal and relationship struggles in as a parallel.
- Crisis of Faith: "She Was the Universe"
- Distinct Double Album: Heliocentric and Anthropocentric, which are two parts of a new sound album released in the same year, both of which criticize religion.
- Drone of Dread: "Omen of the Deep" brings up a slow drone riff, hinting at the crushing album closer "The Origin of Our Wishes".
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Discussed on Heliocentric, natch.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: Fluxion begins this way.
- Epic Rocking: Quite a few instances of long songs. The best example is "The Greatest Bane" at 14:32.
- Fanservice: A lot of the album art and even a music video features a nude woman prominently.
- God Is Evil: A frequent lyrical theme.
- Harsh Vocals: Was standard for the first three albums. Now it's harsh growls and singing at a roughly 50/50 mix.
- Horrible History Metal: A couple cases in Heliocentric/Anthropocentric, considering they are critiques of Christianity. Notable examples being the trials of Galileo and the execution of heretics.
- Idiosyncratic Album Theming: Most of the album titles are adjectives.
- Instrumental: An interesting case. Pelagial was originally going to be an entirely instrumental album as Loic's throat was recovering. When he recovered, the band felt that as the frontman, he was needed, and recorded vocals. The album usually includes both a version with vocals and instrumentally.
- The Fogdiver EP is all instrumental
- Aside from these examples, "Fluxion", "Siderian", "Cryogenian", and "Wille Zum Utergang" discounting intro tracks.
- Koan: "Rhyacian" paraphrases Laozi when commenting on humans "Committed to burn twice as long and half as bright".
- "Just So" Story: "Firmament" is all about the creation as detailed in the book of Genesis.
- Last Note Nightmare: Pelagial ends its concept at the bottom of the ocean, with a final drone, various noises, and studio sound, giving the impression of being crushed from all directions due to the pressure.
- Lighter and Softer: Heliocentric, after three albums filled with heavy doom and chaotic sludge metal.
- Lyrical Cold Open: The whole Anthropocentric album is kicked off entirely like this on the title track. "Heaven TV" on the same album also does this, though gets through almost an entire line before the instruments come in.
- Lyrical Dissonance: What are the lyrics behind those harsh growls on Precambrian? Poetry by Charles Baudelaire, Comte de Lautréamont, and Georg Trakl?
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Over fifty people have been involved in the band. The website gives up altogether listing them all.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most of their material up to Precambrian is around a 9. Among their metal material, they have dropped generally to a 6-8.
- New Sound Album: Heliocentric was this, dropping any semblance of doom, introducing clean vocals, and becoming more melodic as a whole.
- Piano Key Wave: Happens at the end of "Swoon".
- Privately Owned Society: the subject of "The Greatest Bane", where corporations have taken over every aspect of life.
- Rage Against the Heavens: See the lyrics under "God is Evil".
- Recursive Reality: "Who made your architect?" in "The Origin of God". The lyrics discuss the apologetic that everything has to be created by a creator. If you say "everything except my god", you are engaging in special pleading. If not, then your god needs a creator, and the creator needs a creator, and so on creating an infinite regression.
- Recycled Lyrics: "You are trying to save me" is a reoccurring lyric in Anthropocentric.
- Religion Rant Song: Two whole albums of them.
- Revolving Door Band: And how! Over 20 musicians appeared on certain albums, and in the beginning the band lineups were never consistent from one album to the next.
- Serial Escalation: Pelagial starts with soft keys and strings, and generally gets progressively darker and heavier as the tracks continue. This is to give the effect of diving deep into the crushing depths of the ocean.
- Soprano and Gravel: Loic Rosetti introduced this dynamic, and it is a standard part of their modern output now.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Ptolemy Was Wrong" spends half the time just being piano and vocals, creating a ballad about Galileo's heresy.
- Song Style Shift: Happens a few times in "Ectasian". Starts off with piano, cello, and viola, before it goes into a slow sludge doom track, only to turn on a dime into high drive on a Pantera-influenced romp. It changes again into a bizarre robot-voice section towards the end.
- This Is Unforgivable!!: The lyrics in "The Origin of Our Wishes" state a lack of forgiveness for an action just before an implied death.
- Title Drop: The albums rarely get a title drop, but "The Ocean" is mentioned in multiple songs.
- "Austerity" has "It's hard to think of the ocean with the sweet stench of piss in your hair"
- "Paleoarchaean" cheats a bit by quoting from Charles Baudelaire's Old Man and the Sea "Free man, you shall forever cherish the ocean!
- "Catharsis of a Heretic" brings it up in the context of Giordiano Bruno's execution "But this place will burn before the sun will drown in the ocean".
- "Roots & Locust" features it so prominently it sounds like they were working for a signature song. "I dragged myself out to the ocean, and stared all night into the sky!"
- Uncommon Time: Naturally, as a progressive metal band. Probably most prominent in the Aeolian album, where they wear a lot of Meshuggah influences on their sleeves.