The Dutch progressive rock band Profuna Ocean have released two albums so far. In 2009 they released Watching The Closing Sky (see review) and in 2016 In Vacuum (see review) saw the day light.
The history of Profuna Ocean goes back to 2008. Their bio says “four kindred spirits with a taste for well thought through compositions, sweeping melodies and powerful rock sounds decided to take their listeners on a musical trip of epic proportions”. These four kindred spirits are Raoul Potters (vocals and guitars), Rene Visser (keyboards and synthesizers), Arjan Visser (bass guitar) and Fred den Hartog (drums).
The first two albums were received very well by national and international press and lovers of the progressive rock genre. Due to the fact that Profuna Ocean isn't a band that can be put easily into one particular rock genre, the band draw also attention of for example the alternative rock scene. Personally, I think these are the genres that Profuna Ocean is participating between. It is progressive in the way that their songs are not mainstream and most of the songs have a duration between 7 and 14 minutes. But a lot of the songs have also ingredients of alternative rock. They have rather dark atmospheres which personally reminds me of bands as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Don't get me wrong on this, Profuna Ocean didn't copy-paste the Seattle scene stuff. On the contrary, Profuna Ocean is a band with a complete interpretation of music and a complete own sound.
The new album Continuation, that will be released on the 27th of September, is an EP which contains five compact tracks. The band has decided to switch label. This new album will be released on the rather new MEY Productions label of My Arrival's Ben van Gastel. I think it's obvious how this contact came into being. Ben van Gastel and Profuna Ocean's drummer Fred den Hartog played together in the Dutch band Sylvium. One of the reasons for the switch to MEY Productions was to get a bigger fan base to share the music with.
The first release on this label was My Arrival's debut album Satur9 & Indigo (see review), earlier this year. I was blown away by the songs and the production of this album. The omens are good, so my expectations are high on this new Profuna Ocean album.
I already mentioned that the songs are compact and not epic with regards to length. Raoul Potters wrote the bulk of the album. During the process of the two previous albums the band used his ideas as base and added various parts and atmospheres to it. On this EP the process was slightly different, the band left most of the ideas of Raoul Potters intact and recorded them straight ahead. This album doesn't have a central theme. All the tracks are telling their own story. The result of this is an EP with 25 minutes of outstanding music and thrilling atmospheres.
The album opens with Black Train, a track with lingering verses and a very heavy-, catchy chorus. In general, it's a rather main stream song with the quality that once you listen to it one time you can sing along with the chorus. The bridge of the song contains a new wave like guitar sound and brings tension in the song.
This song also highlights my thoughts about the production of the album. The production is very clear and open. This gives the space for hearing all the details in the songs. I really like this type of production.
Cc Song is the second track on the album. It's some sort of tribute to Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) who passed away in 2017. The track breathes the atmosphere of Chris Cornell and alternative rock. It's a modest track with awesome vocals. The vocals create a melancholic atmosphere and are spot on during the whole song. Raoul Potters has a very touchy voice which fits perfect in this band.
Glad You Survived, continues the album. The track starts with a modest piano part in which a surprisingly pointed drum beat scares you up. The track develops further in a mid-tempo track with once more the pointed drum “samples”. It ends with a great melodic guitar solo.
The fourth song on the album is NRA. NRA stands for the National Rifle Association, the American organization who serves the interests of gun possession. The song in general is about the shootings in the United States and is a mid-tempo song with heavy guitar riffs.
The album ends with the track True Fear. The track opens with a heavy riffing bass guitar supported by rolling drums. Most of the track is mid-to up-tempo and is heavy. The track has a very ominous atmosphere. Especially the guitar sounds incredibly fat and the riffs a tight. I really like this track.
It looks like Profuna Ocean are cautiously changing their direction a little bit. As I said, the tracks are more compact then they were before. This results in a more catchy album, but without leaving their roots behind. This EP easily can be categorized as in the past. The band operates between progressive rock and alternative rock.
My personal opinion is that there is nothing wrong with the new approach of shorter songs. I had full attention from the beginning to the end while I listened to the album. The album has very nice atmospheres, great tension and it touched me. Especially as the touch of an album is something that is important to me. I am sure I will fall back on this album. I have listened to it several times and I am sure these were not the last time. Maybe this album is a game changer for Profuna Ocean. I wouldn't mind if they continue to compose more songs like this album.
Continuation is a spectacular new EP by Profuna Ocean. The five tracks are all high quality and the production is superb. I can't wait to see and hear what their next step will be.
There is only one rating that fits to this album, and that is five out of five!
***** Aad Bannink (edited by Dave Smith)
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