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“Death or Liberty” from Ocean Hills

Lumbering but far from the only weight-bearing melodic element in the master mix, the riff in the new single “Death or Liberty” from Ocean Hills is inarguably at the center of the song’s greatest eruptions of catharsis. In this track and its music video, Ocean Hills are intent on delivering big rock with a sharp harmonious bend to the masses, and though theirs is becoming an increasingly rare strain of heavy music in 2020, that isn’t stopping them from laying down the thunderous grooves this summer. The beats are enormous, but more than that, so is the emotionality. 

There’s definitely a heavy post-grunge aesthetic in play in “Death or Liberty,” but I wouldn’t call the song a completely throwback to the rock of the early 90’s. There’s a stylishness to the duality of the bass, drums and keys here that screams contemporary alternative rock, and though the overall mix is burly, none of the specific EQ is scooped to such a degree that it sounds overly familiar.

Ocean Hills undeniably wear their influences on their collective sleeve in this release, but I don’t think they can be accused of sounding even the slightest bit derivative – especially compared to some of their peers. 

Rockers who could use a dose of summer melodicism spiked with an intoxicating riffage that you don’t find everyday anymore would do well to check out what Ocean Hills are up to this July in the single/video combo “Death or Liberty.” As its title implies, the video for the track has a patriotic undertow to its imagery that seems to fall in line with the typical spirit of the season, and even if you’re not usually the type to go for this style of music, its suggested narrative is one that most of us can appreciate wholeheartedly. 

Mindy McCall



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