"THIS RECORD IS AN EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD. BEAUTIFUL PLAYING, IMMERSIVE COMPOSITIONS. FEELS TOTALLY NEW AND MODERN, YET DEEPLY ROOTED IN TRADITION. FANS OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK, OR LATIN MUSIC, OR JUST GUITAR FANS WILL ALL LOVE THIS."
- Jon Gomm / GUITAR VIRTUOSO
“Expanding on the groundwork laid by Rodrigo y Gabriela, Opal Ocean takes it to the next level of flavor. Imagine only having tasted salt and pepper, now cooking your’e dish with with a world spice rack. Just 2 nylon string acoustic guitars creating all the sound scapes here, yet I would not use words like ‘classical’ or ‘flamenco’ to describe it. “Acoustic Rock Odyssey” seems more fitting".
- Ben Woods / FLAMETAL,BEN WOODS
Recently the duo has released their
second full length concept album, The Hadal Zone in what they say is “One of the most daring acoustic guitar albums ever made”. With this set of recordings, they take the listener on an expedition to the depths of their minds and souls. This album is a journey towards the alien depths of The Hadal Zone.
The album's concept is a metaphor for their relentless efforts to explore the limits of the classical guitar. Both filled with mystery and mystifying treasures hidden from sight and yet to be discovered.
Each of the 14 new tracks paints a picture of the aquatic world experienced along a surrealistic descent to the bottom of the sea.
With this release the duo has worked on several innovative new techniques for the nylon string guitar, all featured in their up and coming online lesson programs.
One of the biggest highlights off the new album is the featuring of Jordan Rudess from the critically acclaimed progressive rock group Dream Theater, on their tribute track Polycephaly. He performed a range of textures and classic Keyboard shred-solos throughout the seven and a half minute long piece.
...FEATURING JORDAN RUDESS FROM THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PROGRESSIVE ROCK GROUP DREAM THEATER...
Along with a successful crowdfunding campaign raising over $20,000, Opal Ocean was also awarded the inaugural Yamaha “Make Waves Grant” grant aimed to support artists with new and ambitious music. This enabled the duo to record at the infamous Sing Sing Studios (Melbourne) with head engineer Terry Hart at the reins. Mr. Hart previously recorded the bands earlier releases: Mexicana and Lost Fables and was a perfect fit for this new record.
ABOUT THE TRACKS
1. Schmeckledy Pop
With a name paying tribute to
“Rick and Morty” this track was
one of the first to come out for this record. A mix of middle eastern tones and driving grooves, this song is sort of a bridge between our previous repertoire from Lost Fables & Mexicana to this release. A first for us compositionally, it features a pretty extreme groove change from 4/4 to 3/4 for the last third of the song, guaranteeing to get the party started. It was also the first riff to come out since Lost Fables and was named during a jam on Christmas Day 2016. Schmeckledy Pop was the first full composition completed from the Hadal zone. This song also has several unused riffs that ended up working their way into two other songs; Point Of No Return and Polycephaly.
2. Time I Live (Evil I Emit)
Written as a single this track turned out to be much quirkier than expected. Loads of fun working on this song, with some Djent inspired grooves in the solo section and Nadav exploring some nylon guitar tapping ideas in the breakdown.
Originally meant to be a techno song with the starting riff encompassing a Daft Punk vibe but ultimately changed after Alex came up with the quirky melody that set the theme for the track.
3. Point Of No Return
From this song onwards the album shifts into fifth gear. This track was an absolute beast of a song to compose, encompassing some of our trickiest ideas is one of our most experimental tracks so far. A journey within itself, this 7min piece celebrates our passion for progressive music, it turns and shifts between classical, metal and even hip hop, a true display of how versatile the nylon string guitar can be. It is also the first song of the album featuring a Whammy pedal, scratch solo and a heavy section towards the climax of the song that switches between 5/4 and 4/4. The hectic section shortly after was originally a B side riff from Schmeckledy Pop before twisting back down to a slower tempo chorus riff found at the start of the track.
4. The Hadal Zone
Meant as an homage to “Tool” this track holds a special spot in our hearts. It embodies our vision for this album and takes us to a deeper place every time. With a challenging 7/4 groove throughout, the tune constantly rolls between uneven and even time, much like the ocean waves. New percussive rhythm techniques had to be developed to play this song, we can hear a creative use of “nail rolls” in the break down section. All in all we are both very pleased with the outcome of this one.
Always striving to experiment with rhythm the track was inspired by “Master Maqui” from Rodrigo y Gabriela. With a 3/4 feel throughout, we had to find new ways to play this rhythm as it is the first time we attempted to write a whole song in this time signature. Alex played most of the rhythms on this one only swapping for the improvised solo. You’ll find the note choices also stand out in this track, with use of more ambiguous tones like the altered dominant scales and chromatic passages. Contrasting to our previous releases, on this album we made a conscious effort to modulate as much as possible where we saw fit.
6.Bucket Of Fish
Nadav’s vision for a drum interlude has been finally captured in this track, featuring some creative layering of sounds and passionate guitar drumming blended with the tones of a Korg wave drum to add those slight ethnic touches.
8. Shape Shifters
Being instrumental we often get associated with movie soundtracks and other theme songs situations. This track was meant to be exactly just that. With a quirky, dark and mysterious vibe this track let us into a totally new corner of our compositional space. We refer to the groove as a “dark skank” as it has a sort of reggae feel to it but with a dark and ominous vibe. Nadav created this rhythm after being inspired by a video of guitarist Raul Midon after being approached by a stranger at a train station to check him out online. Now incorporated into our own style for this track. Like other tracks on this album we used a combination of vintage Moog synths, Whammy and Mellotrons to extend our textural soundscape.
9. Fight or Flight
Originally named “Crazy Town” we wanted to write a fast tempo song with loads of energy. inspired after the chicken farm across the road from where we live, we wanted to infuse it with as much chicken energy as possible. Featuring our first attempts to vocalise more than a “Hey” you can hear us do inward vocal screams in the breakdown leading into a fast paced thrash metal inspired ending to finish this track off. This was also the shortest song to write on the album, only 3 days to write it in between studio sessions.
10. Desire Path
We knew we needed a slower paced song on this album, so we decided to work on Desire Path in an attempt to tame our energy for the album as a whole. Terry arranged some beautiful strings for us that really tied it all together. This song features our first ever fade-out, something we’ve always enjoyed in classic records like “...And Justice for all!” and “dark side tied it all together. This song features our first ever fade-out, something we’ve always enjoyed in classic records like “... And Justice for all!” and “dark side to the moon” but never found the right place to do it, until now. We used the same overlayed solo technique we’d use in The fallen Prince and both tracked a guitar solo, later arranging it together for that single guitar effect.
13. Polycephaly ft. Jordan Rudess Written as a tribute to Dream Theater, we started working on this track once we received the news that Jordan Rudess himself would be featuring on this song. We were obviously extremely excited to have him play on our composition, so we did all we could to write in Dream Theater’s iconic progressive metal style (with an Opal Ocean twist of course). Like Point Of No Return we pushed the envelope as much as we could, pulling every trick we could to make this track as epic as possible. To this day we feel extremely honored to have one of our idols immortalised on a song with us.
11. Micro Rave
One of the ideas that developed pretty early on in this album was we wanted to do an Opal Ocean Techno song. We love all sorts of sub genres of the style, like Psy- Trance, classic Techno and even some industrial stuff that can be found in NIN or Ramstein, so we wanted to put all of them together and explore this on the nylon string guitar. Featuring an absolutely ridiculous “Blast Beat” technique on the ending from Nadav and the improvised performance of a Microwave for the breakdown we hope this track gets everyone jumping. In a way the microwave is a comment on the current EDM industry where a lot of the ideas are “reheated”.
Originally called “Camels”, this track is meant to be an introduction to Polycephaly. The Idea was to put the listener into an open space and have the intensity rise up to the next track. Nadav ended up improvising a sort of intro for it eventually introducing the main theme of the track. The theme being derived from the beginning of the album in Schmeckledy Pop and Point of No return ultimately tying it back to the end with Polycephaly.
The repeated riff leading into Poly was a riff written before Lost fables in 2015.
14. Call to the Void
Along with Schmeckledy this is one of the very first tracks we started working on for the new album. It incorporated some influences from Gojira and was the first time trying our hand to non 4/4 grooves. This song features some strings in the intro arranged by Terry and more Mellotrons throughout the track. It has an interesting call and response between the two guitar part at the end, hence the name “Call the Void”