7 Ocean - Son of Sun

7 Ocean – Son of Sun (Сын Солнца)

You have to admire Russian record label MALS as not only do they import, shall we say, less commercially supported albums from across the globe to sell through their on-line shop, but re-invest some of the monies earned to support music from their native country. One such band is Belarusian quartet 7 Ocean (Seventh Ocean).

7 Ocean have been in existence since the late ’80s releasing cassette albums in their initial phase and since 2005 a series of CD releases on the MALS label.

As with previous 7 Ocean releases they tread an ear friendly style of prog/rock. The bright and infectious, early Camel-esque City of Sun sets the tone, whilst the catchy psyche rock instrumental Ascension demonstrates how the band’s sound has broadened on this latest release with the greater inclusion of guitar.  This said, the ballad like In The Cave brings to the fore Alexander Eletsky’s subdued Hammond and piano, while Oleg Grinevich adds some tasteful and melodic interludes on the guitar.

So far so good…

The centre-piece of the album is the seventeen minute Old Woman’s Story and here we discover one of the major drawbacks facing the band. Firstly this is a wordy tale and sung in their native tongue. I don’t have any issues with bands singing in their own language, in fact I much prefer it as opposed to a clunky attempt to narrate the story in pigeon English. Unfortunately the Old Woman’s Story doesn’t have any strong melodic hook-lines and Oleg Starosotsky’s vocal delivery does tend to stay at one level – not that Starosotsky’s voice is unpleasant, it isn’t, but the combination of the language barrier and his delivery style do tend to make this epic…meander.

Salvaging the track are the instrumental breaks, although they themselves do pose a conundrum. Granted they break up the track, but they do tend to come out of nowhere and as a consequence feel more like interruptions rather than integral passages. The upside is that in general they are up-tempo and more melodic.

The album concludes with possibly the most cohesive track, Disappearance, with strong “progressive” traits along with elements of blues, rock and even early ’80s era new wave.

Having listened through Son of Sun for several weeks now, I can safely say that it has grown on me during that period, however it is still difficult to imagine what appeal there may be for the music of 7 Ocean outside their own country.

There doesn’t appear to be any audio/visual available from the usual suspects. The album’s opening track, however, is available via the audio link below.

01. Город Солнца | City Of Sun (8:43)
02. Восхождение | Ascension (5:17)
03. В пещере | In The Cave (6:27)
04. Рассказ старухи | Old Woman’s Story (17:16)
05. Исчезновение | Disappearance (8:32)

Total Time: 46:15

Alexander Eletsky – Keyboards
Sergey Starosotsky – Vocals
Oleg Grinevich – Guitar & Bass
Alexander Sophiex – Drums

Record Label: MALS
Catalogue#: MALS413
Country of Origin: Belarus
Date Of Release: 15th March 2016

7 Ocean – Website | Facebook | Audio