“ Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: And Oceans / Import / Audio CD released at Nocturnal „
This is another one of those rare-stuff compilations that the obsessive collector in me likes so much, but it could have been a lot more impressive. Following the fairly pointless self-titled collection '...And Oceans' that reproduced the previous two studio albums along with the split recording with Bloodthorn, 'mOrphogenesis' smacks even more of a band / record label trying to wring as much cash out of the earlier releases as they can, by making the 1997 demo 'Mare Liberum' commercially available in this form, bulked out with live tracks recorded in 1999.
I'm all for bands making their demos commercially available like this, as I'll always track down the early recordings of bands I like to see how far they've come (or how much better they used to be), but this is quite a lazy release. My main gripe is that they could have easily attached the band's previous two demos that allegedly contained very different material and saw the band move from a straightforward black metal band more towards the symphonic style of this third demo, and the covers they recorded for the Bloodthorn split would have made a nice addition too. But rather than release such a comprehensive, definitive collection of early '...And Oceans' material (that would all fit on one 80-minute CD by the way), they instead only showcase the demo that's the least interesting due to containing half the material from the first studio album. This also, obviously, makes it the best.
The first four tracks here represent 'Mare Liberum,' and they're really damn good. All of the songs can be found on the first album 'The Dynamic Gallery of Thoughts' where they sound very similar, only with slightly cleaner production that makes the guitars and drums stand out a little more. This release boasts impressive sound quality, especially for a demo, but as good as it all is, there's little point bothering with this if you already own the full-length album, which you really ought to already. Further disappointment comes in the live songs which aren't very well recorded, but at least show minimal thoughtfulness by not reproducing any of the previous songs, instead taking the majority of their material from the more recent 'The Symmetry of I, The Circle of O.' That album's material fares quite poorly here, the beauty of Anzhaar's keyboards not being so distinct above the general fuzz of the guitars and drums that end up sounding much more like a demo (how ironic, etc.), and K-2T4-S manages to snarl in an even more irritating manner than he did on that album.
On the positive side, these are all excellent songs, but they can all be found in superior form on the two preceding albums that are a hell of a lot better. There really is no need to buy this even as an '...And Oceans' fan, and it mainly disappoints as a missed opportunity to present all of the band's early recordings together forever, though they can apparently be downloaded from the band's website so all is not lost.
2. September (När Hjärtat Blöder)
3. Mikrobotik Fields
4. Som Öppna Böcker
5. Kärsimyksien vaaleat kädet
6. The Black Vagabond and the Swan of Two Heads
7. Äcid Sex and Marble Teeth
8. Salipsism / Aquarium of Children