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Oceano's 2009 debut CD, Depths, initially seemed to be just one more downtuned deathcore album in a genre already bursting with mediocrities and followers. But its power grew over time, and the band achieved some acclaim within the genre, attracting a slew of detractors at the same time. Contagion is a fully conceived, debate-ending response to anyone still convinced Oceano have nothing to offer the metal community. Superficially a concept album (the track titles alone, read in sequence, tell a story of biological experimentation gone wrong and governmental crackdown), it's an overwhelming musical assault more than a framework for a story. Vocalist Adam Warren's eruptions go from guttural roars to the sounds of raw gastric distress, never quite tipping over into comprehensibility, so the listener is better off just treating him as another instrumentalist. Guitarist Andrew Mikhail and bassist Kevin Colabuono riff in unison (this is metal without solos), shifting from grindcore to doom and back and frequently dipping into industrial territory with a mechanized approach so post-human even the members of Kraftwerk would have to nod approvingly. Drummer Danny Terchin hits hard, but he's the primary beneficiary of the mixing, which turns his every strike into a concussive bomb blast. This group has more low end than many current hip-hop records; in the age of ringtones, metal is where one goes for serious bass worship. At a concise 38 minutes, Oceano finds Contagion making their best record yet, leaving listeners bruised but satisfied.

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