It's been 18 years since the Finnish Industrial Metal band ...And Oceans released an album and yet here we are, album number 5 'Cosmic World Mother' is due for execution on the 8th of May. There is a reason behind the lengthy period between albums and that is because the band was under another moniker for 8 years (2005-2013), the name being Havoc Unit. However the sextet from Pietarsaari are back with a new lease of life and are set to carry on from where they left off albeit with 2 members being from the original set-up. New vocalist Mathias Lillmåns and original guitarist Timo Kontio spoke to GMA about this change in name, the new album and the current health of the Finnish Metal scene.
So here we are album number 5, "Cosmic World Mother" - it looks like ...and Oceans are coming back with renewed vigour, what does it feel like coming back under your original moniker other than 'Havoc Unit'?
"Of course it feels great. We had such a great run with …and Oceans back in the day. We had thought of coming back a few times. Then we always thought that maybe it’s better to leave it to rest and not trying to force it and make a comeback for the sake of it. Then we had a couple of rehearsals and it was clear that we had to do this. We made a short rehearsal room video and put it online. Feedback was quite great. It gave more boost to that to happen. Soon we got some offers for gigs and festivals. After those we thought that it would be great to do some new music as well and here we are now.
Havoc Unit was totally different thing music wise and basically everything else as well. …and Oceans, Festerday and Havoc Unit have always been different units. It’s a known misinterpretation that we would have just changed names between them. For example Festarday and …and Oceans are both active now."
Could you give us a brief background behind each of the songs on the album itself? It must feel good to release a new album after 18 years since 'Cypher'?
"When I wrote the lyrics to this album it started to shape into a concept album and each song has it's own place and story within that concept. I will not at this time reveal any clues to unlocking each song, since I think that people should think for themselves and form their own vision of what the songs stand for. I can tell that much that this album is all about energy and how it transforms."
Do you feel there is a current lack of Industrial Metal bands? What is about the genre that captivates you and how does this filter into ...and Oceans?
"I don’t know about that. Don’t follow the current scene that much. Even less of industrial metal bands. My cup of tea is more of black metal and death metal. People might hear that on our new album as well."
Would you say the artwork can be interpreted in many ways? In the case of ...and Oceans perhaps shedding your old line-up away to be reborn anew?
"That can be one of way looking at it, yes. It would fit, but it's not my own interpretation. As I said before, I think everyone should form their own opinions. Don't wanna spoil too much here either, but it is very closely connected to the concept. In fact you when you will see the whole artwork of the album you can unlock everything that is "Cosmic World Mother"."
What were (if any) the more challenging aspects of creating the new album? Will there be a European tour (and overseas) in support of the album?
"There were thoughts not doing this like mentioned earlier. Reason was the doubt how it would turn out. Now when the album is ready those doubts were unnecessary. New riffs and melodies kept coming like it’s ’95 again, haha.
One challenge was the fact that we live so far away from each other and in several different cities. Arrangements and testing new stuff for example. That wasn’t possible at least not so often. It turned out great though.
We are working on a tour and a few nice possibilities is already there, but we come back to those when confirmed. European tour first."
What is the current state of the Finnish Metal scene? Is it still in the public domain or has it receded more to underground levels?
"Quite a lot new bands both in death metal and black metal scene. Almost like a 3rd or even 4th wave, haha. People seem to appreciate Finnish bands a lot and why not since quality stuff. Metal in general has been noticed quite well since that is the one thing people know when talking about Finland. Though there are only a few big bands coming from here. Most of the bands are in the underground willingly or forced to stay there for a reason."
For metalheads visiting both Pietarsaari and Vaasa, what sights / attractions could you recommend?
"Visiting Pietarsaari, hmmm. Not too much to see here. Hardly any live events at least not metal. Our band members live in four different cities nowadays. None of us lives in Vaasa any more."
What are your plans for 2020 post-album release? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Of course we want to have a really strong coming with this new album. Loads of gigs/festivals, tour. A new video in the making. Hope to see new fans out there and also old fans from the old era of this band. See you on the road!"