Band of the Week - Ocoai
Just exactly how loud is “LOUD AS FUCK”? I don’t have an exact decibel measurement, but every time I see Ocoai live this question is emphatically answered. This band goes to 12. Actually, fuck that, Ocoai is beyond that and probably deserves better than a bad Spinal Tap reference, but it’s all I’ve got. However, if sheer volume was all that was impressive, then I have two friends who could make a killing touring the country with their incessant The Simpsons quotes. Yes, Ocoai makes use of a style popularized by Neurosis and Isis. In fact, if you’re sick of the term Neur-Isis and all of its clones I don’t blame you, but I really feel sorry for you if you gave up on the atmospheric post-whatever genre before hearing Ocoai. These dudes take everything the genre is known for and do it fucking right.
Originally a four piece, they rounded out their line up by adding a 5th member who handles keys, electronics, and *ahem* cello duties. And with that, when Ocoai hit their D Minor key (last Spinal Tap reference, I promise) the sadness of their music definitely brings the Neurosis vibe. When they roll through their up-tempo blues riffs, even burly Black Sabbath worshipping dudes, who dig bands like Baroness and Black Cobra, with beards bigger and longer than their attention spans needed to appreciate music like this, will nod their heads in agreement. When Ocoai quiets down there is a shadowy beauty adding another layer to the already rampant emotion flowing through each of their songs. And when Ocoai slows everything down and push more weight through their amps than Escobar pushed in the 80’s, it has the chunky feel of Pelican (except with competent drumming), but it’s so fucking heavy that if an actual pelican tried to lift the air that carries an Ocoai drop in it’s silly looking beak, it would probably turn the entire species into a flightless bird.
The stamp that Ocoai puts on the genre that perhaps hasn’t been as prevalent in post-metal bands past is guitar solos. Both guitarists take turns cutting through the others’ chugging elephant stomps with more blues influenced picking and even sliding (“Marchand De Sommeil”) or sometimes taking on more classic metal styled solos (later in the very same song). Completely committed to the instrumental only concept, they don’t set up a mic to say anything to the crowd between songs, or even try to shout to let you know how many songs they have left, just hand signals (one). Their perfectly structured songs and ear-splitting volume are enough to satiate any audience salivating for alluring destructive heaviness.
Where they started: 2008’s Breatherman
Where you should start: While Breatherman is a fine release, you certainly can’t go wrong with it. For me, though, it’s the 2 songs on the Peacecreature compilation. Which is actually more like a four way split, and Ocoai’s songs bleed into each other so it’s more like like one song cut into 2 tracks. Whatever, it’s 2 good songs on a CD with 3 other good bands. Sounds like a great starting point, is where I’m trying to go with this. You can also pick up the brand-spanking new album The Electric Hand which they just played CD release shows for this past weekend. It’s phenomenal. Whatever you check out just remember that if your stereo isn’t wall to wall deafening sound then you definitely need to check this band out live.
Essential Live Video: