Music Montag: The Ocean

by James Glazebrook

The Ocean

These submerged sludge-metallers are my musical discovery of the year so far: The Ocean. The Berlin-born experimental act recently shook C-Club to its core at their record company’s eponymous Pelagic Fest, even upstaging headliners Cult of Luna – no mean feat! Their challenging sonic brutality, conceptual commitment and obsession with the sea all call to mind Mastadon, while another lazy comparison would be art-alt-metal masters Tool – both of whom The Ocean easily match live. Seriously.

I’m not entirely sure which of the above men rocked my world, because the band’s revolving door lineup has so far featured at least 40 members since 2000, with the one constant being guitarist and songwriter Robin Staps (front and centre). But it was definitely the same group that tore apart Moscow’s Plan B in the video below. Take a deep breath – we’re going under.

Win tickets to Pelagic Fest, Berlin’s prog metal masterclass

by James Glazebrook

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions] 

By Mike T West.

Scheisse! We’ve barely had time to recover from the decadent sludge-gasm that was Desertfest before we once again don our capes for Pelagic Fest, an entire evening dedicated to pure European progessive metal.


Pelagic Fest

On Friday May 10th, Berlin-based Pelagic Records are presenting the majority of their label roster on the same stage, banishing the clean spring air well into the night. Expect complicated riffage, virginal sacrifice and beer spilled all at the altar of Prog.

Among the acts appearing are hometown lads The Ocean, who are unleashing their fantastic shiny new sixth album Pelagial. An experimental metal album record around the layers of the sea… WAIT! Come back – this is a concept album for those who don’t like concept albums! Reminiscent of early Mastodon or Tool at their brightest, Pelagial is a strong contender for metal album of the year and a bonafide instant genre classic.

And just when you thought it was safe to go outside again, Sweden’s answer to tinnitus, Cult Of shitting Luna, are headlining in support of their new post-metal masterpiece, Vertikal. Not to be outdone by their Germanic peers, the album’s concept is heavily influenced by Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis and features themes of “machinery, repetition and clear, linear structures.” NERD ALERT!


Santa Claus really has nothing on the kind gents at Pelagic who are giving away two pairs of tickets to this progmetal masterclass! To win just answer the following question:

If you could record a concept album about Berlin, what would it be called?

You have until 6pm on Saturday 4th May to enter. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
3. Our favourite 2 fake concept album titles win a pair of guestlist spots. Simple as.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name or we won’t be able to put you on the guestlist!
5. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Sunday 5th May.

Cult Of Luna and The Ocean are joined by Koma, EF, Abraham, Kruger, Earthship and Lo! 10/05/2013 at C-Club, Columbiadammit 9-11 from 17:00hr. Tickets are available here.

Chugga chugga! Win tickets to Meshuggah!

by James Glazebrook

Meshuggah FACE

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions] 

If you’re wondering what’s up with this guy’s face, you’ve obviously never heard his music before. Meshuggah are the Swedish lords of the progressive metal sub-sub-sub-(sub-sub)-genre called djent – according to Wikipedia, “an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted palm-muted guitar sound.” This lofty description is long-hand for one YouTuber‘s own analysis – “TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA TARRATA [ETC.] ” – and, besides, we think vocalist Jens Kidman’s face says more than a thousand words (even a thousand repetitions of the word “TARRATA”). So far, so blah. To win 1 of 2 pairs of free tickets to the band’s C-Club gig on Saturday 8th December, scroll down past the hectic video for “Bleed”. See you in the pit!


Leave a comment below, with your full (real) name and the word that you think best describes Meshuggah’s sound.

You have until 6pm on Thursday 6th December to enter. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. We will keep a record of each comment in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner.
3. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Friday 7th December.

Preview: Nada Surf at C-Club

by Guest Blogger

Nada Surf sepia

By Mike T West.

American alternative rock will land at Templehof this Wednesday as indie veterans Nada Surf drop into town in support of their SEVENTH long player The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy.

You may recognise “The Surf” from their mid-90s sarcanthem “Popular”. Fifteen years later the three piece are still quietly reinventing themselves from album to album; changing their sound just enough to maintain forward momentum while still penning cosy, melodic tributes to hopeless romantics like us. These three gents make contemplative music which is okay to fall in love AND rock out to.

They’re also really big in France.

Nada Surf play C-Club this Wednesday 14th November at 8pm with support from Ezra Sherman + Tall Ships. Get tickets here.

No publicity please!

by James Glazebrook

We’ve just got back from being denied entry to C-Club, because they wouldn’t let us in with Zoë’s camera. At first, the bouncers didn’t seem sure about the venue’s policy, but one of them soon arrived at a rule he was happy to enforce: no large cameras, only small point-and-shoots. Of course, we were welcome to leave our grand’s-worth of gear here, he said, gesturing towards a plastic box at his feet right next to the door. He’d give us a number and everything – “it will be safe”.

What really bites is that we would have been allowed entry if we were on the press list. The only reason we weren’t was that I deliberately chose to buy tickets, to put money in the pockets of one of my favourite bands, Innerpartysystem (a fledgling group who, in this tough climate, have already been dropped by one major label). I would have posted Zoë’s photos here, and written a no-doubt glowing review (they’re amazing live) for BANG BANG BERLIN.

But it turns out the venue doesn’t want the publicity. I don’t know about headliners 3OH!3, but IPS are smart enough to know about the power of both fans (which has kept them alive) and good content. This is a band whose punning Never Be Content EP was launched with a video, below, all about the potential of media, marketing and advertising – albeit for harm. They know that the more words and images “out there” about them, the better.

So this must be the venue’s policy. But it doesn’t appear on their website, their tickets or even on notices at their doors. And they’re using is as a reason to turn people away, while tickets are left unsold at their box office. I understand why Berghain don’t allow cameras, because the lack of records of the superclub’s inside space actually adds to its legendary status (and leads to bonkers descriptions like this). But, Columbiahalle’s little sister venue is certainly not Berghain, nor are the clubs that are rumoured to be adopting similar policies. In fact, we don’t know what these places are like, because we aren’t going to them – and without any publicity, no-one else will.

So fuck you very much C-Club. Here’s hoping the city’s red tape chokes you off real soon.

Backstage at Berghain

Lucky for Berghain, it doesn’t need publicity – because photos like this (backstage) won’t help!