For the Ocean's Robin Staps, there was a certain era of music that impacted him like no other. That was the early '90s, and the metal musician took us through a time warp back to that era in this edition of Gear Factor.

Staps really found his musical interests around 1992, starting with Rage Against the Machine. The guitarist says Tom Morello's playing was what caught his ear, recalling, "He had that funk, the groove in his blood. He’s an amazing guitarist and I was really looking up to him with the sounds he created with his instrument, it was just mind blowing. He was really creative with his guitar playing. So I got really into that and that first Rage Against the Machine record.”

The guitarist also singles out Biohazard, in particular their 1992 album Urban Discipline, as a big influence. Though he admits he wasn't really into their image or lyrics, there was no denying the playing. "Super groovy, super heavy given the standard of the time," he recalls.

A little later on, another influence came in the form of Refused. "We covered Refused songs with my first band, but we were just never anywhere near as good as them. I guess you can find some things in the Ocean that remind you of that," says the guitarist, serving up a few examples like "Cambrian II" and later revealing that "Firmament" was a nod to the group.

Neurosis also had a major impact on the musician and he recalls traveling three hours to catch them live in Berlin. He describes "an indescribable vibe of brutality" permeating the crowd, explaining, "It was terrifying, but at the same time deeply cathartic and cleansing. I was determined to start a band after seeing that show. So I owe that to Neurosis.”

Digging into the Ocean's own material, Staps breaks off a bit of "The Origin of Species," taking viewers through separate parts of the song. He also shares his affinity for "Silurian," stating, "It’s a very odd time signature. I think it’s a 13/16 phrase. It repeats always at a different point in the bar over a straight 4/4 beat. It sounds really complicated, but actually when you listen to it, it flows really smoothly.”

The Ocean just released their latest album, Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic / Cenozoic. It's currently available to order at this location. Watch the full Gear Factor episode below.

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