Ocoai - Breatherman (Cover Artwork)


Breatherman (2008)

Missing Words

Remember Pelican in between the EP and Australasia? Sludgy, but going off in their newer, more multi-layered direction?

That's what I think of when I hear Breatherman, Ocoai's debut record. Hailing from Johnson City and Knoxville, Tennessee, and sharing members of Mouth Movements (one of which is Travis Kammeyer, who produced/engineered the last Generation of Vipers record, as well as Breatherman), Ocoai demonstrate stereotypical instru-metal, except they do it really, really well. Better, in fact, than any other band that has risen to the challenge since bands like Pelican, Isis or This Will Destroy You have made this type of music a worthwhile venture.

Not that Ocoai do everything those bands do/did. They draw from many places, it seems, moreso than most. An instrumental band's sound gets tricky once every other band has the same amount and type of pedals on their boards, but Ocoai just knows how to get different sounds from them that add to their atmospheric buildups before tearing into a Mouth of the Architect-type riff.

The bottom line is, yes -- this is instrumental metal. Yes, a lot of bands are doing it now. But Ocoai is different. There's more reliance on atmosphere before a buildup and dynamics than how heavy a riff is or how thick the wall of guitars sound. Ocoai should be in everyone's playlist who enjoys Pelican, Mono, Mogwai and even Stars of the Lid. Yes, Breatherman has minimal points. And it's great.