Oceans Ate Alaska – ‘Hikari’

By Jess Tagliani

Since 2014, Oceans Ate Alaska have been on an incredible journey. They’ve signed to the impressive Fearless Records, released their debut album ‘Lost Isles’ in 2015, played at festivals including the prestigious Warped Tour and Slam Dunk, and have headed out on countless headline and supporting tours. The best part? They’re only just getting started.

Their upcoming release ‘Hikari’, the first to feature new vocalist Jake Noakes, takes symbolic inspiration from the Japanese word for ‘light’. From start to finish, it’s a masterpiece of technical wizardry and furiously heavy riffs, complete with jaw-dropping vocal work.

Tracks such as ‘Covert’ are simply outstanding. Listening to Jake Noakes’ vocal range easily shift from guttural growls to his clean-cut vocals is astonishing, especially when it’s pulled off with such ease and grace. And then there’s lead single ‘Escapist’, a glorious blend of adrenaline-fuelled riffs, demonic-like drumming, and bloody powerful vocals. It’s a solid choice for a single and leaves you slightly breathless.

What really makes ‘Hikari’ stand out as an album is that Oceans Ate Alaska teasingly flirt with other genres. The pop sampling that lies beneath the gritty riffs throughout ‘Hansha’ is a sheer delight; it adds flair and depth to what could become an easily boring album. Then there’s the smooth jazz undertones during the opening of title track ‘Hikari’, lulling you into a false sense of security before becoming a full-on aural assault. It’s brutal, fast, and furious; it’s what Oceans Ate Alaska do best.

Then there’s the beautiful melancholic instrumentals in the form of ‘Veridical’ and ‘Ukiyo’ – they give the rest of the band the chance to simply shine. Jagged riffs that explode with power are layered atop a solid yet killer bass line, whilst the drum work is simply unbelievable.

Their debut album may have given Oceans Ate Alaska a nudge down the right path, but ‘Hikari’ is sure to open many more doors for this young quintet. It’s a jaw-dropping album, one that swells with power and furious tenacity, demanding your complete and undivided attention. It definitely suggests a new light for the band.

JESS TAGLIANI

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