Few bands mix atmospheric psychedelic rock with crushing extreme metal as well as Metal Blade's very own The Ocean. Their brand new release, Heliocentric, as with most of their albums, is a conceptual piece. "The songs, art and lyrics of this album tell the story of the rise of the heliocentric world view - the idea that the earth revolves around the sun, and that the sun is stationary and at the center of the universe. Copernicus and Gallilei were the first popular ambassadors of this idea, although ancient greek astronomers like Aristarchus had already posited this theory centuries before."
Pretty heavy stuff right?
Heliocentric is more proof of just how unique a band The Ocean are. They have a great knack for combining lush, melodic soundscapes with trippy instrumentation, then bash you over the head with punishing metal, which they do so well on "Firmament". You also have some dreamy prog numbers here, such as "The First Commandment of the Luminaries", which features some lovely string passages on the mellow sections, and the piano driven "Ptolemy Was Wrong" is quite a departure for the band, but shows a real tender side that we haven't seen from them before. Elsewhere, there's plenty of Katatonia/Porcupine Tree/Opeth/Mastodon styled moody metal numbers, like "Metaphysics of the Hangman" and "The Origin of Species", where clean & growled vocals battle for supremacy amidst layers of guitar texures and intricate rhythms. Nice use of strings and sax in a few spots on the album as well, adding even more unique elements to the overall sound.
There's plenty to absorb here on Heliocentric, but as with most releases from The Ocean, your're not going to unravel all the hidden nuances of this CD with one or two listens. Dig in, get comfortable, and explore this one to its fullest...but don't get too settled, because the sequel, Anthropocentric, is coming from the band in a few short weeks!
3 The First Commandment of the Luminaries
4 Ptolemy Was Wrong
5 Metaphysics of the Hangman
6 Catharsis of a Heretic
7 Swallowed by the Earth
9 The Origin of Species
10 The Origin of God