Don’t bother trying to nail down the sound of the Ocean Collective (better known as simply the Ocean). Teutonic metalcore? No. Conceptual math-rock? Please.

“A one- or two-word tag could never adequately sum up what the Ocean is all about,” explains Robin Staps.

Staps is the composer-guitarist of this symphonic undertaking out of Berlin. Granted, listeners categorize things in order to understand them, but how does a fresh audience wrap its head around an experimental, 26-member doom metal act?

Fiery, intimidating and epic yet juxtaposed with spells of allure, calm and divinity, it’s the Ocean’s intention to sound a lot like the beginning stages of a planet, as evidenced by the title of their latest outing, 2007’s double-album Precambrian.

The Ocean showcases progressive sounds of extreme technical skill and classical composition ebbing and flowing on a shore of brutal metal. They have the spirit of Rush and Jethro Tull, with the truculence of Neurosis and Meshuggah. Precambrian features songs written on boundless and intuitive terms.

“I am not trying to write music that is extreme just for the sake of it being extreme,” says Staps. “I am not trying to write music that is hooky just for the sake of selling more records. I write music to satisfy myself more than anything, and if people share this with me, I am very happy, but if I am the only one enjoying it, then that is still pretty cool.”

Staps’ satisfaction has been duly shared, judging by Precambrian’s coronation as one of the best metal albums of last year by numerous global media sources. The entire collective is over two dozen members strong, including philharmonic musicians, video and web designers, graphic artists, and guest vocalists from Converge, Cave In and Breach. The Ocean only performs with eight of those members, though everything heard on the CD is in the live show.

“Our live show is highly energetic. What we’re trying to conjure up on stage is like a little movie in itself. We try to make people get lost in our sounds and visuals … and within themselves.”

Ultimately, the advanced nature of the Ocean is really about the sensations that lie within the music, lyrics and even the artwork that they project. For example, Staps pulls from Immanuel Kant’s ideas on the subjective nature of aesthetic experience by explaining how primal men must have felt watching a thunderstorm – a combination of awe
and fear.

“Our music hits the same nerves.”

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation