I Hate Records: Zaum + Ocean Chief


I Hate Records LogoReview by Jason Guest

Specialising in doom and thrash and with a love for all forms of traditional metal, from Sweden’s I Hate Records, two releases have found their way into MR’s dark corners:

Both intriguing and both impressive, hopefully we’ll be seeing more from this label in future. If you want to find out more about the label, you can visit their website, their Facebook page, or their YouTube channel for further details.

In the meantime, read about both or click on the band names above to go straight to their review.

Zaum – Oracles

Release date: 13 June 2014

As genres go, “Middle Eastern Mantra Doom” is a new one on me, but however charming genre tags are, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And were Zaum’s Oracle to be a pudding, it would be a vast space cake, as colossal as the cosmos and as intoxicating and mystifying as the enlightening words of a desert-dwelling guru. Four tracks in forty eight minutes, this is a journey, one that demands your attention and one that holds it throughout.

With drummer/percussionist Christopher Lewis punctuating the broad and ever-expanding vistas created by Kyle Alexander McDonald’s multi-layered musical and vocal textures with subtle yet sturdy drum lines, the spiritual depths of the music come to the fore. Each track subtly pulls the listener further out of what they consider to be reality and ushers them into worlds long since forgotten. With the influence of Om, Bong, and to some extent Sleep, present, it’d be easy to accuse them of imitation, but Zaum have their own distinct voice, one that is dark and haunting and lingers long after listening. Highly recommended.

Zaum – Oracles8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Zealot
  2. The Red Sea
  3. Peasant Of Parthia
  4. Omen


Ocean Chief – Universums Härd

Release date: 13 June 2014

Translating as “The Hearth of the Universe”, the fifth full length from Sweden’s Ocean Chief is a slow, heavy, loud, and captivating album. With vocalist/drummer Tobias Larson alternating between Ozzy and Thomas Gabriel Fischer and riffs and a guitar tone that could have been lifted straight off of Monotheist or either of Triptykon’s release, the opening title track does the album a disservice. It’s a great track, but anyone expecting an album of Black Sabbath / Celtic Frost / Triptykon worship and imitation will be sorely disappointed. No, the hefty doom-laden grandeur of Universums Härd is Ocean Chief to its core.

The crushing weight of the first two thirds of the nine-minute ‘Oändlighet’ is compounded by the atmospheric and disfigured guitar lines that emerge and spiral ever upward before a slamming two-minute coda is unleashed. Not content with sticking to what they have so eloquently displayed already of their skills, the combined groove and sheer beauty of the melodic and atmospheric ‘Färden’ is astounding, so much so that the darker shades of ‘Urtiden’ and ‘Frihet’ are all the more powerful for it. And with the eight-minute ‘Mörker’ and closer ‘Vandringen’, Ocean Chief still manage to pull out a few surprises while still managing to maintain all the heft and dark sincerity that doom, sludge and stoner are renowned for. An accomplished piece of work, Universums Härd is a necessity.

Ocean Chief – Universums Härd8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Universums Härd
  2. Oändlighet
  3. Färden
  4. Urtiden
  5. Frihet
  6. Mörker
  7. Vandringen