Dark Ocean Society – ‘Hymns For The Last Man’   2 comments

Solo project Dark Ocean Society, brainchild of Chris Tedor, is a prog metal band, with doom, sludge and post metal influences. This, the 4th album so far, entitled ‘Hymns For The Last Man’, is released on October 19th. Available for free, or a donation of your choice. ‘HFTLM’ was independently produced by Chris, at his home. Chris also performs bass, with Chicago doom metal band Hypnochron. They’ve played gigs with Pale Horseman, Faces Of The Bog, Snow Burial, etc.

Following up the 3rd Dark Ocean Society album, ‘HFTLM’ continues and further enhances material from album 3, intended as a contemplative focus on current society. In contrast to the individual concepts of album 3, ‘HFTLM’ aims to encapsulate society, as a whole. The notion of album 4, (‘HFTLM’), is based around the philosophies of Nietzsche and Aldous Huxley, of materialism and satisfaction with mundanity and shallow existence. Also with the present-day issues of resistance to change/improvement, in the face of significant social challenges. Though not designed with any political agenda in mind, ‘HFTLM’ attempts to present a study of society, through affecting music.

Based in Chicago, Chris Tedor’s musical career began after seeing Tool live, with a friend. (The journey to the gig was an adventure, in itself)! Initially taking bass lessons, from a jazz guitarist called John Zelisko, brother of promoter and radio presenter Danny Zelisko. John’s a formidable guitarist, bassist and drummer. After years of dedicated practice, Chris joined a band named Desert Earth, on vocals and bass. DE separated, after recording 3 tracks. Aaron Koppel was the next tutor to teach Chris. Dark Ocean Society was born at this point. The band’s title was influenced by Yakuza, to whom Chris wanted to pay homage and through his own fondness for the name. His ambition then, was to combine Pink Floyd with metal.

DOS’s debut solo album was entitled ‘Odyssey’. Chris wrote the riffs and Troy from DE contributed significantly to the rest. Chris also performed bass on Troy’s solo album, with Hypnochron, who’ve been playing live ever since. Oceans Of Titan was Chris’s next pursuit, this time, within the stoner genre, on bass and backing vocals. Composed of seasoned professionals, OOT played their debut 40 minute show, following just 3 rehearsals, of entirely original material. It imploded, due to individual commitments and personal difficulties. Not before recording an album, albeit without completed vocals and solo tracking’s, but it’s still deemed a source of pride.

Chris was able to meet his ambitions of mixing Pink Floyd with metal, on his 2nd solo album, ‘Outbound’, a concept, based on space travel. Self produced, the final track, ‘Ghosts Of Lo’ was written and recorded in one weekend. The 3rd DOS album, ‘The Abyss Stares With You’, was launched in 2017. A precursor to album 4, ‘HFTLM’, which presents the form of music Chris was aiming to create, in the beginning.

The Vast Void – Bloody Hell, that’s one hellishly explosive intro! You’d be forgiven for thinking this a death/black metal track, given those growls and cuttingly sharp instrumentals. If there’s one thing it is, it’s affecting. There are sung vocals aswell, set back in a distant formation, amongst the spacey, sci-fi accompaniments. It does incorporate melody, with a maths/tech aspect and there is a depth through which that Pink Floyd influence is audible. A fairly experimental sound, it does become increasingly proggy as it goes on. An urgency in his vocals floods the atmosphere, as it fades out on an ominous singular tone, of disconnection. Too complex to form an opinion, till more’s been heard.

The Last Man – Opening on a blade like rotor sound, a doom mood follows. (See what I did there?) I doubt it’s by accident that doom’s an anagram of mood. Something obliquely Cave-esque becomes apparent, in these vocals. Now the bass gets heavier and fuller, as the riff melody builds. Again, this is clearly the more doom led track, playing around with a narrative vocal. There’s darkness and light within this track, presenting the darker side through the bass and the lighter elements through the riffs. Some pleasant notes hitting the point of mood lift and tapping into it, to soar, as the leadened bass weighs it down. Almost ritualistic, in its hypnotic rhythms and sustain, those aspects may go down well with pagans and witchcraft practitioners. An abrupt, yet echoic end.

Interlusion – Tighter, synth and keyboard intro, with a mysterious essence. Moving into trance/techno arenas, a new aspect reveals itself. Some piercingly sharp pitches in there and possibly, a glockenspiel somewhere. It’s quite visually evocative, of clanging windchimes and winter landscapes. A lot briefer, but the polar opposite of the previous 2 tracks.

Space Cowboys – Heavy, crash of a stoner-ish intro and already, I like where it’s going. Even if those vocals don’t work for me. Relying on an echoic format, they are a bit flat and perhaps, the focus would do better, kept to the accompaniments. On their own, they do cut a good track, representing a real foray into stoner doom territory. Even fairly catchy, in places, the instrumentals are strong. Sludgy emphasis paints a sepia picture, as those vocal exhortations do their own thing, in an almost Lennon-esque way, on ‘I Am The Walrus’. Again, for such a laboured track, it ends quite abruptly, but the doom vibe’s definitely present.

Worship The Sun – Powerful drum blast opens. This is definitely more tuneful and melodic, from the off, with lots of good riffage. The vocals do seem to favour that distant, echoic quality. The synth creeps in again, around 3/4 in and it slides towards a sludgy end.

Spirit Traveler – Introing with a keyboard heavy phase, bringing in some light emphasis cymbal work. Synth reappearing, then it crashes down, in a floor hitting heaviness. Here, the vocals actually sound more confident. Well placed riffage adding the melody, it’s a much lighter track. The mood rises, palpably. Riffs composing most of the track, the rhythm’s faster and seems to flow easier. Again, it’s heavy bass work, continuing that physical emphasis of doom, sludge, stoner, psych combo. Yet still, the whole feel and sound of this closing track’s so much lighter. Ending with a shrill piccolo tone, it fades out, into the distance.

Overall – As an experimental album, it works quite well, with a good variety of inclusions, in instrumental, style and form terms. The vocals may not have won me over on this one, but for a self production, it’s a pretty decent outcome. It does need a bit more work on the audio values, but on the whole, ‘HFTLM’ is a successfully inventive album, with enough genre spins and varied forms to please many.

7/10 *******

For fans of psych, prog, trance, doom, sludge, stoner, dark, tech, maths, space, sci-fi, black, death metal and melo-death.

‘Hymns For The Last Man’ is available for free, or by self chosen donation, by download, via:

http://darkoceansociety.bandcamp.com/yum, using codes: uewx-bevw and l6hj-xugs

https://twitter.com/DarkOceanSociety

https://www.facebook.com/DarkOceanSociety/

Artwork by Chris’s sister Megan.

Posted September 28, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Dark Ocean Society – ‘Hymns For The Last Man’

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Loving that gritty sound, thanks for the code 🙂

  2. Intresting, will come back here later too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: