Panta Rhei


From their EPK, "This new album features a collection of powerful and dynamic tracks that […]
Oceanica - Panta Rhei album cover

From their EPK, "This new album features a collection of powerful and dynamic tracks that showcase Harris-Hayes' unique approach to songwriting. From the soaring/raging vocals to the intricate guitar work and through the rumbling bass to the layered percussion; every element of this album has been crafted for a purpose. Although, audibly heavier and darker than the previous album; it still retains Harris-Hayes' prevailing optimism and positivity within his lyrical world. As a solo artist, Harris-Hayes has taken on the challenge of playing all the instruments and handling the mixing and mastering processes himself."

"Panta Rhei" means "everything flows," or "all is in flux." The album has nine songs, and "Photographs Found on an Old Camera" is the first. The opening tones are smooth, pretty, and melodic, and the interplay in the guitars is quite charming. There is a fairly long build up before the vocals come in, and they are harmonized and accompanied by a heavy riff. The song hangs on a precarious cliff...climbing up at times and sliding down at others, but it ends on a positive note. "Fixation on a Co-Worker" is heavy, dark, and aggressive, with all those obsessive qualities one might associate with the title. The shady side of the song is reflected in weighted, tense tones while the lighter side holds out just long enough for the subject to believe in his plight, with a coy smile on his lips.

"Roll the Bones" is moody, and atmospheric, and the opening tones are taut. A scream followed by harsh vocals leave no doubt as to the shadowy nature of the song. Hate and anger come though strong, in both the vocals and the guitar riff. "Lumière" is a bright spot on the album, as the title suggests. It is built with harmonized vocals, reaching a crescendo of sound, with layers in the vocals and instruments. Even the harsh vocals screams are lucid, and they reflect the unflappable spirt of man. "Drive-Bi 69" is nothing like the playful title. The guitars and thick and overgrown, while the harsh vocals have a groovy cadence. Here is where you can pick up on some of the Progressive elements of the album, in terms of the odd and shifty meter used. It reminds me of DEVIN TOWNSEND a bit.

"The New Human Agenda" begins with a solemn, and prophetic tone. The vocals have a fragility to them, almost scared to speak the truth. "What you do is not worth compared to, how you're perceived or seen online. That bullshit roundabout of social segregation and decline...for every new technology that creeps into your lives, the gulf between you continues to grow, makes you alone...and that's the price," he croons. This is a stalwart statement. "Mother of Eyes" is an emotional song with poignant lyrics, like "it's the fear reinstated...It's the wary sighs, ungated. A catalyst much of the time...yet carries weight for all our crimes. It's the untruths aimed like arrows to pierce, our shallow egos, and worse...they drive a divide...a division like silence, now presides." As a lyricist, Ben is quite thoughtful, and the music is rousing and foreshadowing.

"The Hope Sequence" is an affirmative song that reminds those who are lost, or perhaps grieving, to let go of the past, and embrace that which you are. The music is beautiful, and I take personal solace in the message. I wish this song would go on forever, for it is very memorable, and it burns with passion. The drums are especially strong in this song as well. "UN(en)TITLED" closes the album, and it's another hopeful song with just a bit of doubt in the end. The music is smooth and dreamy but does get funky at times. I suppose this reflects the duality of life...the ups and downs...and we all experience them. I love the ending, as it fades into meaningful and endearing tones.

Although the album is darker in nature than Ben's previous album "OneDark," is still has an optimistic message. I take it as a journey through your life, through angry and frustrating songs, and sounds of grace and acceptance. Therein lies the most burning question of mankind. Why do we suffer? What is to become of us when we die? Leaving religion out of the picture, I like to think that these harsh life lessons help us to become stronger, and, oddly enough, gentler with others. Maybe it's because this suffering softens us towards our fellow man, or at least, it should. Those who have experienced this revelation know its strength, and those who haven't will be forever in search of this inner peace, and "Panta Rhei" will serve as the soundtrack for this plight.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Panta Rhei" Track-listing:

1. Photographs Found on an Old Camera
2. Fixation on a Co-Worker
3. Roll the Bones
4. Lumière
5. Drive-Bi 69
6. The New Human Agenda
7. Mother of Eyes
8. The Hope Sequence

Oceanica Lineup:

Benedict Harris-Hayes - All Instruments, Vocals

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