Concert Review: The Ocean and Leprous, 3.23.2022

The pandemic had robbed us of the joys of going to a concert, but with some regulations in force — such as masking and providing proof of vaccination — tours have finally resumed. When I heard that The Ocean was coming into town as support for Leprous on their North American tour, I decided to go, everything else be damned. Given that these bands had both placed high in my EOY lists over the last few years, I was excited (if not a little anxious) to go and see them. I had high expectations for a great show, and — spoiler alert! — they delivered.

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Concert Review: The Ocean and Leprous, 3.8.2022

It sure does feel good to be here again! For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on what caused my extended departure from the concert world, but having just eclipsed the two year mark since my last show, the time finally came. Truthfully, it would be hard to pick a better situation for such a return. After Phanerozoic I and Phanerozoic II both topped my lists in their respective release years, it is just too perfect that the first live performance I’ve caught in what feels like an eon was, in fact, The Ocean. And yes, that geologic time scale reference was intentional. Better still, this date at the Brighton Music Hall was headlined by Leprous, who finally got their hooks in me after an absolutely mesmerizing performance. Let’s dive into the festivities.

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Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2021

Best of 2021

I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.

Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.

Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.

Welcome to EOY list season!

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CANTO: The Ocean, Der Weg einer Freiheit, Eight Bells, and More

The Ocean

Finally a tour I will, without any doubt, attend in the near future.

  • And that, of course, is The Ocean, who are finally returning to the U.S. in March. They have a run of shows with Leprous starting on March 1st and continuing through April 2nd. No idea when tickets go on sale, but either way I will be buying many of them. I’m excited.
  • More out of Germany! Der Weg einer Freiheit are streaming Noktvrn in full over at the Season of Mist YouTube channel ahead of its release. I mean, it drops on Friday, only a couple days away. But it’s an incredible album and you should be excited to get it a little early.
  • Eight Bells have signed on with Prophecy Productions for the release of their third full-length album. That should be out sometime in 2022, but we can also look forward to a reissue of their existing catalog. Good stuff on the horizon.
  • Drowse dropped a cover of Slipknot’s “Wait and Bleed” today, and that feels like a thing worth checking out. So… here you go! That’s from a nu metal covers compilation from The Flenser titled Send the Pain Below, which you can grab on vinyl through their Series Three membership.
  • And we’ll close some Roadburn Redux material from last year. Horte shared footage of “Valoa on liikaa” today, and you can watch it below. That track is taken from Maa antaa yön vaientaa, which dropped on August 27th through Pelagic Records.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
cmb

CANTO: Ihsahn, Skeletal Remains, Belphegor, and More

ihsahn

And thus began another week in Hell.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– cmb