Black Ocean

Prosthetic (2008) Mario

Century – Black Ocean cover artwork
Century – Black Ocean — Prosthetic, 2008

Thanks to the ever increasing popularity of whack bands like Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, etc. among the metallically-naïve listeners out there, it seems that metalcore has taken the place of nu-metal as the classification that bands most want to avoid - although deathcore is aggressively seeking the title, as well.

Century is one band that can carry the metalcore tag without shame. Their sophomore effort and Prosthetic Records debut, Black Ocean, isn't exactly overwhelming, but it is a breath of fresh air in a genre that mostly just sucks.

These guys tend to play the part of 'core more than metal, although the thick guitar tones, attempts at sounding progressive, and bass-emphasized drumming give it a metallic edge. On the whole, though, this band is more along the vein of the super dense-sounding hardcore movement being led by bands like Coliseum and Disfear than it is with the conceptualization of metalcore that most seem to have.

The title track on Black Ocean does a nice job of catching the band's basic sound: lots of awesome guitars, monotonous screaming, and bass-heavy drums. A fretful intro consisting of wild drums and charging feedback dives into a pulverizing verse with chaotic instrumentation all around, leading to a chorus highlighted by a sequence of graceful guitar licks that give it a distinctly epic tone. There is also an impressive amount of detail spent on the ambient aspects behind the bruising instrumentation, exhibiting the expansive traits mostly seen in post-rock/metal. Unfortunately, Black Ocean seems restricted to alternating between these basic pulverizing and epic sounds while displaying nothing else especially interesting, and the vocals tend to become a non-factor the longer you listen. Frontman Carson Slovak isn't an especially dynamic vocalist, as his screaming really only has one gear. There really isn't much variation here, although what does come through is generally quite good, and the production does a good job of playing toward Century's strengths.

Speaking of the production, Black Ocean was engineered by Slovak in his own studio, and he did a great job. Everything sounds nice and shiny. Fans of raw productions might be turned off by that description, but Century's sound relies on the clarity that Slovak provides, and the subtle guitar movements that supplement the band's heavy nature with distant atmospherics wouldn't come through with a harsh production.

This band is barely three years old and they have a good amount of talent, so it wouldn't be surprising if their next release is a great one. They almost did it on Black Ocean, but it just needs a little more

zazz. Black Ocean fails to amaze or push boundaries, but it's still a 2008 standout.

8.3 / 10Mario • July 1, 2008

Century – Black Ocean cover artwork
Century – Black Ocean — Prosthetic, 2008

Related features

Body Count

Interviews • May 31, 2017

Related news

A new EP from Spirit Adrift

Posted in Records on July 10, 2021

Mid Century Modern on June 4

Posted in Records on April 3, 2021

Recently-posted album reviews


Back To The City
White Russian Records (2021)

Somehow it seems to me that Travoltas released Until We Hit The Shore only last year or perhaps the year before. But nooooo, it’s been four years already. That record is still on heavy rotation here, especially when the weather is sunny and the temperature is high (but not too hot). So I was so happy to hear a new EP by … Read more


Neon Waste, Static Shock Records (2021)

Rough and tough d-beat, oi-influenced punk with a boot on the cover. If you follow the scene you probably already have a sense of what Bootlicker sounds like based on that alone. Released on Neon Waste (USA/Canada) and Static Shock (UK), this is Discharge-influenced punk that pulls no punches. It’s angry, shouty, and aggressive as all get-out with memorable lyrics … Read more

Stella Research Committee

A Proposed Method for Determining Sanding Fitness
Independent (2021)

Labels like Amphetamine Reptile and Skin Graft Records and the “now wave” and noise rock avalanche they launched has served as an immense source of inspiration for a myriad of bands. Listening to Stella Research Committee’s fifth LP, they do not only seem to be overly familiar with the output of the aforementioned label rosters, but have channelled those influences … Read more