Defy The Ocean
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Defy The Ocean

London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2010

London, England, United Kingdom
Established on Jan, 2010
Duo Alternative Post-rock




"Defy The Ocean – Elderflower EP"

Ignore the post rock tagging when seems to accompany UK duo Defy The Ocean as their sound is so much more than that. Well not exactly ignore as it is one prevalent texture within a proposition which commands attention but as their new EP Elderflower reveals, the band is as eager to embrace alternative and melodic rock as they are grunge and many fiercer flavours. It results in a sound which captures the imagination across seven intriguing tracks within Elderflower, songs which are a mix of sheer bewitchment and less dramatic adventures but all offering company that only firmly satisfies.

Defy The Ocean consists of vocalist/guitarist Chris Theo and drummer/guitarist Marcos Economides, a pair which met at high school and began jamming together at the respective fifteen and nine. Having gone their separate ways the duo reconnected and musically linked up again in 2009, Defy the Ocean emerging from their songwriting and playing. Their first two singles were released in 2010 with the Myopic EP unveiled late 2012; its well-received release followed by the single Gold & Green the following year.

Working on Elderflower since then, Theo and Economides have pushed their sound to another level, weaving soundscapes of dramatic textures within melancholic atmospheres coloured with matching emotions. Equally they have drawn on more virulent forms of rock to add an inviting catchiness which whether subtle or forthright is another potent draw on ear and imagination.

The EP opens up with Rest, a sombre introduction sharing its shadowed heart through the first melancholy hued strains of guitar. As more creative detail appears, the song comes to life, its emotive intensity as dark and troubled but shaped by melodic suggestion and graced by the excellent vocal harmonics of Theo. Ebbing and flowing with energy and raw emotion, the track grips ears, seizing the imagination as forcibly in less than three minutes of striking enterprise.

The following Veil equally opens in calmer sorrowful waters, wrapping downcast yet vibrant melodic strands around ears as a dirtier bass line walks the shadows bringing a portentous air to the blue but radiant captivation. Along its body, the track continues to grow in layers and ear snatching textures, as with the EP as a whole needing numerous listens to appreciate the levels and nuances making up an ultimately enthralling body with increasing impressiveness following every venture into its riveting downcast landscape.

The EP’s title track comes next, casting a theatre of emotion and sound with essences of bands like Tool, Pelican, and Grenouer in its tempestuous landscape. Both Theo and Economides entangle each other’s enterprise and technical prowess, rhythms a rousing often destructive element as sonic adventure links up with rawer trespasses for one infectious tempting.

Brine follows with its own thick canvas of dramatic sound and emotional turbulence, Theo vocally emptying the song’s heart as the guitars cradle his dejection. Again it is beguiling stuff if at times lacking the last few sparks that lit up its predecessors, though to be fair there are moments it radiates like a creative sun to dynamically pleasure the senses before Vessel soulfully caresses ears with its atmospheric despondence and warm understanding. The most adventurous track so far, it transports thoughts into exotic places over time, always sharing compelling emotion and an understated yet powerful catchiness which just as potently fuels the impressive tones of Theo and his and Economides’ invention.

The piano bred instrumental of Poisoned leads into final track Bones, its brief heavyhearted beauty the appetiser to the woeful and epically shadowed closer. With moments of melodic clarity and stormy intensity, all swept across by the vocal and harmonic elegance of Theo, the last song is emotional turbulence within a musical tempest and quite beguiling with greater command on the passions with every listen.

Within Elderflower, Defy The Ocean merges recognisable essences and textures with their own stirring invention. It makes for a masterfully powerful release becoming more striking with time shared.

The Elderflower EP is out now @ - The RingMaster Review

"Defy the Ocean – Elderflower"

With seven tracks and a running time in excess of half an hour, it’s one hell of an EP. ‘Elderflower’ is also a whole lot more than the prescriptive ‘post-rock’ tag attached to the duo. Much as I appreciate labelling as much as the next time-pressed music journo struggling to place a band and clutching for pointers for pitching a band in a review, and much as I like a lot of what slots into the post-rock bracket, Defy the Ocean are a band who create music that simply cannot be readily classified on their expansive and accomplished new release.

For a start, it’s more rock than post rock. It’s pretty loud. It’s pretty heavy. There are a lot of vocals. None of these are bad things, and ‘Elderflower’ is a work of depth, range and power. From the get-go, they demonstrate a knack for shifting between segments and moods with real panche, dragging the listener along with them: ‘Rest’, the first track may only clock in at two minutes and fifty-five, but it’s got more twists and turns and ideas and emotional range than some bands’ entire albums.

‘Veils’ is restrained, darkly atmospheric, moody and is perhaps the most post-rock track of the set. But it’s got a bleak, metallic edge that also tips a nod to the mid 90s alternative rock sound.

The title track breaks into full-on grunge mode, the quiet / loud dynamic and brooding atmosphere more Alice in Chains and Soundgarden than I Like Trains, and the crushing power chords are thick and heavy, and paired with a drawling vocal delivery, it calls to mind Melvins – the mellow piano breakdown notwithstanding. ‘Brine’ is serpentine, stripped back, and provides a distinct contrast with its chiming guitars which does call to mind I Like Trains – but then again, the burst of powerchords, distorted vocal and full driving climax, alludes to millennial progressive acts like Oceansize, Amplifier, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, and if anything, ‘Vessel’ amalgamates neoprog with the desert rock vibe of Queens of the Stone Age and their ilk. There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all well-assembled and musically articulate.

Everything about ‘Elderflower’ points to a band who aren’t confined to any one format or bank of instruments, which makes for a refreshingly varied collection of songs, and one which demands repeated listening in order to reveal its full richness. - Aural Aggravation


Defy The Ocean is difficult to put into a box, but with this band it doesn’t matter whether it really is Alternative Metal or Post-Rock or Prog-Rock, they are creating. The duo based in London released the EP “Elderflower” on the 2nd of September. Singer/guitarist Chris Theo and drummer/guitarist Marcos Economides are the sole producers of this EP. Overdrive gets under the surface and goes deep on ‘Elderflower’.

This album is not bite-size. It is a fairly chunky EP, for two of the 7 tracks exceed the 7 minute mark. It is a lot to swallow, since Defy The Ocean resonate with dark, emotive and almost nihilistic sentiments.
The bricks in the wall of sound that appeal to the listener the easiest would be the vocals, which are very reminiscent James Maynard Keenan. Overall, the entire EP has a healthy dose of toolesque visionary progressive rock. Defy The Ocean’s sound is quite opulent, especially for a duo. The multi-layered tonal foundation is consistently enshrouding. An outstanding element of their sound is that the guitar playing is not based on catchy riffage, but on almost random yet coherent patterns, like water drops on a window.
The prologue ‘Rest’ pronounces the EP wonderfully. It almost feels like a bittersweet realisation, a retrospective of significant moments in your life that will inevitably alter the future. The chord progression takes the listener gently from light hearted hope and drowns him softly in destructive dissonance.
Elderflower is spiced with versatile elements of a vast musical spectrum. ‘Veil’ is of a grunge and doom vibe, heavy in the likes of Alice in Chains.
‘Elderflower’ finds a balance between chewy musical graveness and maddening minimalistic soundscapes and yet there is a sense of groove. The connected structure of the EP is pleasing, for this sense of groove is enlarged drastically in the ending of the following track ‘Brine’. One has to admit, the songs are not very distinctive of another, since the grave mood and pace prevails, but it never bores.
Defy The Ocean have invited guest musicians to contribute to Elderflower. The chitravina amplifies the Tool vibe on the song ‘Vessel’. Various strings, keyboard instruments and backing vocals or vocal noises throughout the entire EP are what give the final score of their sound a meticulous endnote.

4/5 - Overdrive

"Defy The Ocean: “We’re deathly afraid of repeating ourselves.”"

Quietly, in a corner of London, the duo of Defy The Ocean are cranking out dark and atmospheric metal, which draws from a bewildering range of influences that extend beyond the lazy Tool comparisons. Their second record Elderflower has been a long time in the making; Chris Theo had completed the lyrics for the title track and ‘Brine’ before the release of the 2012 EP Myopic. Elderflower has finally bloomed, and within it is a wealth to explore and discuss. Fortunately, both band members are extremely open about their way of thinking, and give a very personal insight into their creative process.

But first, their début EP Myopic. A concept record detailing an extinction level event, (“Once we started down that road writing ‘Neolithic’, everything seemed to fall into place,”), the EP’s proceeds were donated to the Sea Shepherds charity. For Chris, the struggle lay in imbuing the impersonal topics with personal emotion, or as he put it, “capturing that emotion whilst avoiding triteness or over sentimentality.” When asked whether they would repeat the charity element of the EP release, Marcos was all for it: “We don’t have any immediate plans to, but why not? If someone in need can benefit then that’s fantastic.”

“Empty words you lived your life by
Answered by the silent night.
Empty promises that held you
Warm at winter’s height.
Washed away by the tide.”
Defy The Ocean – ‘The Tide’

On Elderflower, the lyrical topics became introspective, and Chris is remarkably candid about the lyric-writing. “The last 5 years of my life, while I’ve worked on these and other songs, I’ve been working to change – from someone rather angry, negative and defeatist, into someone more optimistic. This despair, and the subsequent emergence of hope” – in reference to his partner, who helped him and gave him the strength to get help – “is tonally exactly where we wanted this EP to be placed.” It reflects in the music, pregnant with emotion – from the opening dirge of ‘Rest’ channelling Alice In Chains and Karnivool, to the cello-augmented post-metal monolith ‘Bones’ which closes the record.

The theme of change and resistance starts with the stunning artwork though – designed by Erin Smith, the image presents the idea of transformation. “What better representation for the themes of change and resistance are there than the literal triumph of life out of death? Hope out of despair? This was also an opportunity for us to take the skull – very commonly depicted in album artwork, particularly in heavier genres – and put our own spin on it.” Chris references The Moth Gatherer’s The Earth Is The Sky as another great example of this.

Aside from the cello by Nina Plapp, there’s another guest contribution of note – Vishwanath Sankaran, who plays the chitravina on ‘Vessel’ and whom Chris has known for a few years. “Vish, as I call him, is a friend. Honestly, when we first met and I found out he played this unique instrument, my mind immediately set to work on how to get him into my studio.” This was not without its difficulties: “I had very little idea what I was doing and couldn’t find much online about best practices. Ended up sounding pretty good though!” And it has opened the door for further collaborations, describing the experience of working with new and talented musicians as a joy and humbling at the same time.

With so much going on in their music, it felt right to unpack some of their more surprising influences. Marcos kicks us off: “I think everything you listen to ends up being an influence in some way or another, and for me that’s everything from Meshuggah to Rachmaninoff.” When prodded for specific albums that stuck with him, it’s a genre-hopping mix: Mer De Noms by A Perfect Circle, Around the Fur by Deftones, One Hour By The Concrete Lake by Pain of Salvation, and more recently, Asymmetry by Karnivool. “Outside of metal I’d have to mention Kid A by Radiohead, …Until We Felt Red by Kaki King, and For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver.” And yet somehow, these all make sense in the record’s context. It has been mentioned in interview before that the duo do not 100% overlap on influences (though, a recent overlap in terms of appreciation is Converge – “anything they do is just fantastic.”), and Marcos mentions some of Chris’ listening background: “his bridge some pretty diverse stuff, from Britpop in the mid 90s to Swedish death by ‘99, with albums such as Colony by In Flames being an early influence. He was also in a black metal band for a while and is a huge fan of female singers: Björk, Austra, Lisa Hannigan, Portishead, The Unthanks.”

The band’s recent music video for ‘Elderflower’ brings up the topic of music videos in general. Chris has developed a cynical view of them: “They were always secondary to the music. The fact that we’re in living in such a visual age, where if it doesn’t dazzle the eyes it might as well not exist, is sad.” He laments a bygone age where people would absorb art as a whole entity – an album back to back, for instance. “I’m sure plenty of people still do, but culturally, mentally as a civilization, I think we’re moving away from that. We are such desensitized creatures, that getting anyone to listen to your music, or read your book, or absorb your art, is close to impossible without a visual aid – even books need video trailers these days!”

This mentality informed the creation of the ‘Elderflower’ video – “Our music is pretty serious stuff, heavy themes. One would hope both emotive and powerful too, but to try and present the same thing visually is really uninteresting for us. Video for us is an opportunity to be ourselves, to show that while we take the music seriously we are also just two guys that like a bit of a laugh.” They clearly did, as Chris pretends to be a dinosaur – or is really a dinosaur pretending to be a human – though there is an important underlying message of identity. “It means to show someone that is living a lie and the subsequent exposition of that lie. In that way, when viewed metaphorically, it is very much a true story. We lie to ourselves every day. Self-denial is a form of self-preservation, and in a world that can so easily overwhelm, it’s not hard to see how millions can fall under its spell. Plus I wanted an excuse to wear a dinosaur onesie on camera.”

Looking to the future, there have been rumblings of live performances, and they are “keen to revisit the idea,” though they are still in the process of building a solid live band to back them. Defy The Ocean will of course continue to write new music, though in a different format: “We’re going to work on a few singles rather than another E.P. or full length. We feel like Elderflower (the EP as a whole) is the apotheosis of this particular incarnation of our sound. But we also feel like we’ve got a lot more to offer.” Considering the change in sound between Myopic, the intermediary single ‘Gold & Green’, and Elderflower, it will be interesting to see in which direction(s) the band will head next. “Most of all we want to keep challenging ourselves and making good music and you can be sure you won’t hear the same thing from us again. We’re deathly afraid of repeating ourselves.” - Broken Amp

"Defy the Ocean: Elderflower (2016)"

UK twosome DEFY THE OCEAN was formed back in 2009, and the creative partnership of Chris Theo and Marcos Economides have so far released three singles and one EP. “Elderflower” is their second EP, and is set for release in early September 2016.

This is a band that appears to mainly define themselves within a post rock and alternative rock context, albeit also with progressive rock referenced in terms of style and approach. And as far as a general indication goes, this threesome of genres appears to describe their music fairly well too, although I should probably add that their specific style is one that incorporates elements from all of them rather than actually incorporating all of them in a more purebred manner.

Mood and atmosphere is probably a better place to start though, as this is a band that at least on this occasion appears to be rather fond of melancholic moods and dark atmospheres. Not in a haunting or ominous manner for the latter, nor dramatic when it comes to that, but rather a dark melancholy with tendencies towards being distanced, detached and ever so slightly mystical and exotic at times.

They tend to alternate between calm, delicate sequences on one hand, with plucked and dampened guitars leading the way in those passages, and firm, dark toned riff based excursions on the other. These latter sequences can at times have something of a grunge or stoner rock tendency to them, at other times these movements reminds me more of a band like The 3rd and the Mortal. Vocal harmonies, melodic overlays of various kinds, gently echoing psychedelic guitar details and occasional textured instrument details of the post rock variety flavor the soundscapes explored in an effective manner, and adds the variety needed and a certain element of the unpredictable to their compositions.

Those with a taste for controlled, slightly distanced rock and metal with strong tendencies towards moods and atmospheres of the dark and melancholic kind, explored within a framework that does come with occasional progressive rock oriented tendencies will most likely be charmed by the dark allure of this production, especially those who tend to treasure bands of this kind that can be described as sophisticated.

My rating: 80/100 - House Of Prog

"DEFY THE OCEAN - Elderflower"

For some reason, it seems that British music has been following me over the last few weeks, as I had encountered the prog metal act Beholder and produced an analysis of the latest works by Anathema (the latter only available in Italian as of the moment).

Defy The Ocean is a relatively new name in the British post-rock (or post-metal? or progressive rock?) scene that has already brought us many notable bands. However, this duo placed themselves in an area somewhat different from their more famous counterparts, first of all by adding lyrics and actual vocals to their music.

The cover artwork of the EP "Elderflower" (designed by Australian artist Erin Smith) also contributes to placing words and their interpretation at the forefront, as the skull is actually composed of petals and letters which can only be noticed at a closer and more refined look. The EP also signals a big step forward from the 2012 debut "Myopic", as Chris Theo (vocals/guitars) and Marcos Economides (vocals/drums) have further explored the possibilities of this constantly expanding style, moving from the slightly more metal-oriented sound they played in their previous work. We can even hear echoes of Steven Wilson in the way vocals and guitars interact with each other ("Veil" or "Brine"), and it is actually quite difficult to place this EP under a single "tag", as has been the case with most progressive/post music recently coming out from the area.

Defy The Ocean's EP is officially going to be released in September 2016, and you can find all relevant information about it and also listen to the songs previews through their many social media channels. If you are into this style, you will find yourself captured by the thirty-odd minutes making up "Elderflower", wanting to "believe in something ultimately beautiful". - Aristocrazia


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy