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As Ocean Of Grief just unveiled their debut full-length album, Comrade Aleks spoke to guitarist Filippos about how the band is building on their melodic Death/Doom sound.

Interview with Ocean Of Grief.
"Ocean Of Grief is a straight name - you'll know what to expect from the Athenian band…at least so it seems! The band was founded in 2014, and, after the EP 'Fortress Of My Dark Self' and single 'After A Long Time', they presented a brand new full-length debut, 'Nightfall's Lament', through Rain Without End Records. This material is good, with a balanced heaviness, soaring sorrowful tunes and proper Death Doom vocals. A good thing for those who prefer deep and mournful yet dynamic music. We had a talk with Filippos Koliopanos (guitars), it helped to shed a light on Ocean Of Grief's depths."

Ocean Of Grief: Charalabos Oikonomopoulos (Vocals), Dimitra Zarkadoula (Guitars), Thomas Motsios (Drums), Filippos Koliopanos (Guitars), Giannis Koskinas (Bass), Aris Nikoleris (Keyboards).

Hi, Ocean Of Grief! Let's start with brief introduction: who are you and how long have you played together?

Hello! We are a melodic doom/death band, formed in 2016 with 3 releases until now. An EP entitled "Fortress of my Dark Self", a single called "After a Long Time" and our debut full length album, "Nightfall's Lament".

Lake Of Tears, Sea Of Desperation, Russian Ocean Of Sorrow and Lake Of Depression from Panama... well, how did you figure out that this name is best suited for the music you play?

We really liked the word "Ocean" and what it was instantly bringing to our minds when we hear it, so we decided to include it in our name. "Grief" is a word that represents our music and lyrics very well, so it wasn't hard to incorporate that into our name. After all, it was our primary goal to have a name which instantly gives the right impression about our music.

You play well-tuned, melodic Death Doom metal with all the core elements the genre is known for: what are the main pillars of the band's sound?

Melody is a very important part of our music since the very beginning of the band along with the atmosphere and the darkness that doom metal evokes. We tried to combine these elements of our sound with aggressive parts that would attract the listener until the very end of each song. We hope that we will be able to achieve this more and in the most suitable way with each release.

Do you plan to enrich the genre with some of your own ideas? I guess that this question touches every band – follow the rules set by the old bands and just do the best you can, or develop your own sound although it's a rarer and sometimes unsuccessful method.

I believe that developing your own sound is the goal of every band but I think that composing music that you enjoy playing should be the primary goal. Doom metal and especially doom/death metal is a niche genre and it is a really hard task to stay true to it while at the same time enhancing it by adding elements of other genres. It would be really cool if we can achieve that in the future.

Which Death Doom bands would you note as the most influential in your case? Why?

Many well-known bands of the genre like Saturnus, Draconian and Paradise Lost have influenced our sound but Jari Lindholm's bands and especially Slumber and Enshine played a major role in the shaping of our sound.

Ocean Of Grief - 'Eyes Of Oblivion' (Official):

You started with EP 'Fortress Of My Dark Self' in 2016. The CD was released in a small run, but I saw that the band was met with enthusiasm. How do you value this record today? How do you see its strong points?

"Fortress of My Dark Self" will always be a special album for us as it was our first as a band. To be honest, we didn't expect it to be welcomed that well, people from various countries were contacting us via our social media from all over the world and the comments we were getting were stunning. Since it has only been 2 years from its release, we can't have an as much "objective" (if objective is even possible when music is concerned) view about it as it would be required to see its strong points but judging by what people were telling us, it was the melodies and the atmosphere that most people enjoyed.

How successfully - from your point of view - did you transfer these elements to 'Nightfall's Lament'?

In "Nightfall's Lament" we tried to evolve the best elements of the EP and combine them with aggressive and darker parts while still retaining the bands identity. We can't say if we achieved this well or not but the first comments we are getting from people are more than encouraging.

How do you see the roots of the general moods you create with your songs – anger and grief?

More or less everyone in the band is on the same page concerning the feelings that our music shall recreate to the listener. Many factors have played a role to the desire to recreate these moods through our music. Personal problems, the every-day struggle to survive in this, harder and harder to live in, world and of course the well-known economic crisis in our country are among the main reasons that trigger the musical expression of these emotions.

One of the main points I find in the album is the truly oceanic immensity of melodies, I would say that 'Nightfall's Lament' is overloaded with melodies, but it sounds very alive, everything is on its place. How did you work on these songs?

For starters, thank you so much for your compliments. In every song we create, we try to make it as emotional and interesting as it can get while still retaining a structure that allows the listener to follow the song throughout its course. With that in mind, each song is different and requires a different approach but at the same time we want our albums to be coherent and so every song is related to each other in one way or the other.

There are six musicians in Ocean Of Grief: do you work in democratic way composing the songs or do you have a chief dictator, a master-mind who rules all the processes in the band's life?

The process that we follow to compose our music most of the times, starts with me or Giannis (bass) bringing a riff or a couple of parts and then start building the skeleton of the song until it gets to a point that we are satisfied with. After that we write additional parts, orchestrations etc and we are refining it over and over, taking into consideration everyone's opinion, until it gets to its final form. Sometimes, I may bring a whole song already finished with some parts or details to be arranged but that is not the norm.

Discography: 'The Fortress Of My Dark Self' (EP, GSP 2016), 'Nightfall's Lament' (2018, Naturmacht Productions).

What were the main goals which you kept in mind during the work in the studio? Did you fulfill everything you wanted?

Atmosphere was one of the most important parts that we wanted to incorporate in the album's sound, while also be powerful and dark but yet emotional. It was a hard task to achieve and I hope we came as close to our goal as possible. It is up to people now to judge if we succeeded in that or not.

How was everything organized in the studio? How intense was this recording session? How much time did you spend there?

We are usually very well prepared for the studio. All the songs are finished and rehearsed over and over so that the only thing in mind is to just record them. This time though, I handled all the production, so this allowed us to have plenty of time to experiment as much as we wanted with sounds, effects, tones etc. We spend, as usual, plenty of time rehearsing the songs and learning them as best as possible, as we are big supporters of recording everything really tight and getting everything right at the source. After finishing all recordings, we spend a good amount of time trying different sounds and effects on keyboards, synthesizers and effects in order to achieve the atmosphere that we had in mind for this album. As you can imagine this procedure took a respectable amount of time until we finally got to the desired result.

Ocean Of Grief - 'In Bleakness' (Official):

Doom metal and Death Doom particularly aren't widely represented in Greece - why do you think that is?

I think that Doom/Death metal is not widely as popular as other genres do internationally, not only in Greece. I don't know why that is but I believe that it has to do with the vibe it provokes. Doom is usually related with sorrow, loneliness, slow parts etc while the majority of people in Greece (and in the world) like more up-tempo songs with a more positive vibe. It might also be that time hasn't come yet for Doom to be popular! Time will tell…

Ocean Of Grief's lyrics are something universal for classic Death Doom themes: grief, self-scourging, some spiritual searches. Do you see any local influences in your lyrics or music? Or is it totally bred from the classic European Doom school?

Unfortunately, I can't speak for the lyrics myself as our singer is responsible for them. I think these topics suit the genre very well and that's why they are used to that extent.

What are your plans for 2018? How soon do you plan to return to the studio, or do you want to focus on gigs or even a brief tour to support the album?

We have already started working on the new album but very slowly as the main priority right now is to support the album with as many gigs as possible as long as promoting it through the web in the best way that we can. After this period, we will focus almost exclusively on the next album!

Okay, thanks for the answers! Good luck with promoting 'Nightfall's Lament'! Any final words of doom for our readers?

We want to thank everyone who is supporting us and especially the ones who did from the early beginning. You are making us stronger and more determined than ever to continue! We are waiting for your opinions on our new album!

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Ocean Of Grief bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-02-04 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Thermal Mass
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