[Review] Oxhole – Ocean Of Colours

Oxhole is a young Progressive Rock/Metal band from Czechia. Their debut album “Ocean Of Colours” was released on January 31, 2022 and consists of 7 medium-long duration tracks in which numerous guests participate. The album opens with “D.E.M.” which begins with gritty guitar riffs that intertwine with keyboards over a solid rhythm session and a dynamic vocal. Tempo changes and engaging choral inserts enhance the sound, where vocal skills are certainly highlighted. Halfway between Hard Rock and Prog, it’s an energetic track with just the right amount of singing and instrumental parts with interesting solo cues. A melancholic electric guitar begins “Broken Wings” on which a mid-tempo rhythmic session is inserted with a deep and leading bass line with hypnotic features. The most melodic traits mix with tempo changes and forays into Hard Rock, creating an engaging sound. The instrumental section in the central part takes the sound into more progressive and elaborate territories, where a prolonged guitar solo guides us to the crescendo ending. “Eyes Of All Colors” is a track with a dreamy atmosphere with a pleasant piano and a warm and expressive vocal. Softer than the previous ones but very intense, it dampens the tones with quality and with a continuous crescendo up to the choral finish. With an accelerated and energetic rhythm and dizzying riffs, reminiscent of Power Metal opens “Full House,” which also recalls the traits in the vocal. Enriched by tempo changes and keyboard inserts, with another quality test by the singer, who, however, occupying almost the whole of the song leaves little room for instrumental developments. With heavy riffs and darker features opens “Forever Terrified” which develops with a fine intertwining with the keyboards and a full-bodied bass line. Another very convincing vocal test that interprets the piece well, which between continuous tempo changes and Symphonic inserts in my opinion is the best developed and most Progressive track so far. The instrumental section here has a large space and enhances the artists’ technique with a solo in pure Progressive style, managing to mix Symphonic and Metal traits. The longest track on the “Refused” album starts with a great vocal and a softer atmosphere with piano and guitar over a solid rhythm session. In continuous evolution, with tempo changes and the intensity that increases with the passing of the minutes, it is an excellent blend of Symphonic traits and other more Heavy ones. Good mixes of guitar and keyboard, which offer technical soloists cues, succeeding with successful changes to mix Symphonic Metal, Prog and epic atmospheres. The ideas contained in this long track are many and well developed, with the various sections coming together to form a high level suite, certainly an essential passage of the album. Closes the album “Talking Ocean” characterized by a dreamy intro with acoustic guitar and a vocal reminiscent of the 70’s Prog with Folk features. The intensity increases with the passage of the piece that develops with engaging and cheerful positive melodies, creating an excellent final ballad that in the second part also offers valuable solo cues. A young band that shows technique and quality and a debut album that convinced me in part. The first part is closer to Hard’n’Heavy sounds of various genres, including Hard Rock, Power Metal, with forays into Symphonic and sometimes Prog Metal. While in the second half of the album they manage to bring out their more progressive character, with long-lasting tracks, more elaborate plots, enhancing the individual technique of the artists involved. The first part is also of a good level, but it deviates slightly from the Prog. I want to give a special mention to the vocal parts, an added value for the band, dynamic and very intense interpreting all the passages of the disc in the best possible way. A recommended listening, where Progressive lovers will find original ideas closer to the genre in the second part of the disc, overall a good record and a very interesting band, to follow both now and in the future.

Tracklist

01. D.E.M. (5:27)
02. Broken Wings (7:55)
03. Eyes Of All Colours (4:43)
04. Full House (5:23)
05. Forever Terrified (9:36)
06. Refused (12:07)
07. Talking Ocean (5:40)

Lineup

Jindřich ‘Jundrix’ Michalik / Vocals, Keyboards, Piano
Tomáš Štěpánek / Guitars, Violin
Tomáš Machát / Bass
Jiří Michalik / Drums

With:
Damian Wilson, Heri Joensen, Jan Čermák, Karel Fridrich, Zdeňka Němcová, Viktor Fridrich, Vítězslav Adamec, Jiří Šlégr, Eva Dang, Tomáš Roučka

Oxhole |Official Website|Facebook Page|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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