Review : THE OCEAN – "Anthropocentric"

The OceanAnthropocentric
Release Date: 2010Nov09 (US)
Label: Metal Blade
Rating: 4/5

The Ocean has always been long on ambition—nobody can take that away from them—but I got straight-up pissed off at Heliocentric. It first brought us through man’s evolution from overt sun worship earlier this year, to this companion album that critiques the covert sun worship within fundamentalist Christianity. However, the focus on overall cohesion is better executed on Anthropocentric, despite the fact that both albums were recorded in the same sessions. The progressive leanings are still ever-present, and I find it nearly impossible to write about this band without thinking of Between the Buried and Me.

There are links to Heliocentric from the get-go, as the title track recalls the “Metaphysics of The Hangman” lyric and a musical feel similar to “Firmament”. If The Ocean does one thing well, it’s lead a strong battle charge from the start, commencing their anti-geocentric argument against those who believe that “Earth is the center of God’s own universe”. Its length is only surpassed by “The Grand Inquisitor”, which draws inspiration from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Something about it didn’t strike me; it likely is due to both division between tracks, and exclusion of the vinyl bonus track on my promo, which completes the piece.

No worries. I am beyond pleased to find them properly utilize new(er) vocalist Loic Rossetti, finding balance between the indistinguishable shouts of early efforts and unnecessary focus on clean vocals from their last album. Hearing him develop is exciting and—should he progress gradually—may prove to be a force all his own. But when in a band that still uses the word “collective” in its name amongst certain circles, pushing any individual heavily to the forefront is detrimental to the whole.

Founder/guitarist Robin Staps is still chief composer, but Anthropocentric is notable as the first album by The Ocean where all members actively contributed in some way to the writing process; perhaps that’s why there is less orchestration compared with previous releases. I’m just relieved to hear this band moving in a direction that feels more purposeful; still experimental, but making better choices for their grander vision.

FCC OK
Try 1, 3, 7, 9

01. Anthropocentric
02. The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness
03. She Was The Universe
04. For He That Wavereth…
05. The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts
06. The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith
07. Sewers Of The Soul
08. Wille Zum Untergang
09. Heaven TV
10. The Almightiness Contradiction

Bonus Track (vinyl only)
11. The Grand Inquisitor IV: Exclusion From Redemption

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