|Genre||Symphonic Progressive Metal (Rock Opera)|
|Release Date||17 May 2019|
|Record Label||Pride & Joy|
Rock operas are a massive endeavour. Aside from being able to construct a coherent story without breaking the lyrical flow of the songs, the project needs to strike a balance between this storytelling and quality songwriting without pushing the lyrical agenda too forcefully. Floating World’s Battleship Oceania nails a lot of things, but falls short in a few other major aspects.
The album kicks off on a high note with ‘Oceania’ and sets the perfect mood for the rest of the album. It also shows a bit of what the band are capable of as musicians and the orchestrations aren’t overdone. If the rest of the album followed suit with its beginning, this would undoubtedly have scored at least a nine. Conversely, though, the second track breaks way the hell off into the other direction and drones on for far too long, with the rest of the album continuing this yo-yo of great song/bad song until its end. So, let’s get the rest of the bad stuff out in the open first, because I’d prefer to end my criticism on a higher note.
Battleship Oceania‘s biggest issue is one that is all too prevalent. So many of the songs carry on for way too long, which makes the album quickly wear out its welcome. Most of the songs have at least one section that suffers from this, but notable examples would be pretty much the entirety of ‘Island of Dreams’, most of ‘The Last Goodbye’, and ‘Sailing in History’. Additionally, while the entire album is larger-than-life, some of the orchestrations get out of hand and there’s simply too much in the forefront at once.
It’s a shame that these flaws are so prevalent because the good parts of this album are really good. The grand story of the crew of a legendary ship, vanity, corruption, and self-sacrifice is told entertainingly and coherently. Some of the lyrics in the verses don’t flow too well, but we’ll give them a pass on this, because they’re mostly well done and they’re not even native English speakers for fuck’s sake. Some tracks are fucking killer all the way through, like the exciting ‘New Mission’, the dark, dooming ‘The Curse’, and ‘Oceania’, but every song has an impressively solid core. There’s a huge amount of variety on the album, from the heavy bangers to the impending danger of songs like ‘Retribution’ to soft, nurturing tones in the semi-electronic ‘Divine Love’, and each different feel is executed well. And, as I mentioned before, the musicianship is altogether excellent. Jon Soti’s vocals are fantastic and powerful, the rhythm section is super tight, the solos are cool (that fucking bass solo in ‘Eternal Sleep’!), and the sparing use of female vocals and choirs is a really nice touch.
All things considered, Battleship Oceania still makes the cut as a great effort. If two or three minutes were cut from most of the songs it’d definitely be all the better for it, but it’s still a very enjoyable album. The main problem, I think, is that the band got just a bit too ambitious with this project, but a bit of restraint and streamlining is all their next record needs to be as awesomely mighty as most of this one is.
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