Mar 122013

(NCS writer DGR brings us a round-up of new music from The Ocean and Robots Pulling Levers.)

Here’s a couple of things that caught my eye over the weekend and yesterday.

A couple days ago The Ocean premiered a new song off of their upcoming two disc album Pelagial (one with vocals – the other an instrumental version) entitled “Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams”, and it is a solid piece of metal for those who enjoyed the group’s heavier aspect from their two-part release Heliocentric/Anthropocentric back in 2010.

It’s been three years since those two discs hit, and so far this intro song proves that the band have not decided to rest on their laurels during this passage of time. It’s not as moody and introspective as the stuff on Heliocentric – instead going for the much more straightforward bombast and powerful chorus work of something like “She Was The Universe”.

The wormy and intricate guitar riff that repeatedly comes up in the new song is friggin great, and yes, the only cleanly sung part can get stuck in your head easily. It all feels like it ends too quickly – especially as the band hits a stuttering riff that will sound very familiar in style to anyone who has heard Tool’s “Jambi” from 10,000 Days. Considering this is part 2 of the impossibly long-named song, we can only hope that specific part returns in some of the other parts, because man, is it cool.

Metal Blade has Pelagial listed as coming out at the ass-end of April, and you can check out some of the packages that they have available for order here.


Robots Pulling Levers is one of the many projects that include musicians Mark Hawkins and Vishal J. Singh amongst a veritable swarm of musicians. Grover and I were allowed the opportunity to feature these guys on our TNOTB sampler way back when that site was a thing (the song featured was “Sumati”), and then they went a little quiet.

Among the many instrumental groups I’ve had the opportunity to listen to and feature, Robots Pulling Levers seemed interesting because they were willing to get weird amidst their focus on shred and grooving it out. They’ve invited a gigantic list of guys to appear on their new disc and it was released late last week under the title of Zong. The full list of guys who make an appearance according to the band are . . .

Mark Hawkins (Soul Cycle, Devolved) – Shred, Rhythm guitar, Bass, Composition.
Vishal J Singh (Amogh Symphony) – Shred, keyboard, orchestration, arrangement.
George Richman (Hypnorock) – Shred.
Alan Sacha Laskow (Enditol, Walk as Chaos) – Shred.
Francesco Filigoi (Abiogenesis) – Shred.
Sam Bell (Mask of Judas) – Shred.
Malcolm Lee Pugh (A Loathing Requiem) – Shred.
Andrey Sazonov (Abstract Deviation) – Synth/Keyboard shred.
Pete Pachio – Shred.

. . . and Zong absolutely sounds like a massive collective of guitarists just tearing things apart.

The seven-song instrumental effort is surprisingly short but feels incredibly dense. There’s so much activity throughout the disc, yet it doesn’t quite wade into the sheer guitar pyrotechnic territory that many of these groups are prone to go into. They experiment with many different things including a hefty focus on bass for the first couple of tracks.

When things get intense on this disc they really pull out all stops because you get so many different notes sweeping back and forth that I somewhat wish I played guitar just so I could even pretend to have some sort of expertise in what is going on.

Zong is available in pay what you want form over at the Robots Pulling Levers Bandcamp here.



  1. Looking forward to that new Ocean album, was in fact jamming them this morning along with Ulcerate!!!!!!!!!

  2. “She Was The Universe” was/is a fantastic song… but I still feel like the band haven’t yet managed to recapture the sheer unadulterated awesomeness of Fluxion yet (and I say that as a big fan of all their albums).

    • I need to give Fluxion another try. It’s the only The Ocean record that has never stuck with me. Listened to it whole maybe four times. I’ve only listened to the version I own, though, which was the original. You have an opinion on original vs. remastered?

  3. Remastered is the way to go imo.

    Having mike pilat on vocals all the way theough gives it such a sense of continuity, and it absolutely CRUSHES instrumentally. ‘The human stain’ remains my favourite track by them.

  4. The Ocean’s song is excellent, and gives me great hope for this album.

    RPL is a great album… although it’s “Zong”, not “Zonk”. Whatever you call it, it was well worth the wait. Vishal and Mark have struck gold again.

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