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Ocean, The: Anthropocentric

As has been the formula for The Ocean the past few years, they have released two CDs in the same year, and the latest Anthropocentric couldn't be any more different than Heliocentric. Heliocentric was more of an atmospheric affair that showed off the bands progressive & orchestral side, while Anthropocentric see The Ocean return to thunderous flavors while still retaining their progressive and experimental edge.

The opening title track lets you know exactly where this album is going to take you, as this near 10 minute epic kicks off with mountains of boooming sludge-ridden metal angst before settling into a melodic and quite textured pace that probably would please most fans of Opeth or Mastodon. A mix of heavy doom riffs and jangly psychedelic chords permeate the crushing " The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness", as the band sounds like a weird cross between Isis and Fear Factory, and they churn out plenty of bombastic extreme metal on the cyber-metal of "She was the Universe". Lead vocalist Loc Rossetti does a great job here delivering awesome growls & bellows as well as highly melodic clean passages, usually changing things up on each and every track for plenty of variety. He's all over the place on the quite complex "The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots and Locusts", a piece that also features some dazzling guitar, drum, & bass work, and unleashes some fierce metalcore screams on the rampaging "Heaven TV". Interesting thing to see the band throw in a mellow post rock instrumental here in the form of "Wille Zum Untergang", a minimalistic approach to say the least that is probably 3 minutes too long, but you have to give the band credit for trying something different.

Overall, Anthropocentric is a pretty diverse affair, containing some crushing metal, technical prog, some jazzy bits, post rock, and of course doom/sludge. Fans who were somewhat put off by the melodic & orchestral Heliocentric will be happy to know that The Ocean haven't abandoned what got them to the game in the first place.


Track Listing
1. Anthropocentric 9:24
2. The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness 5:02
3. She was the Universe 5:39
4. For He that Wavereth... 2:06
5. The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots and Locusts 6:33
6. The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith 1:55
7. Sewers of the Soul 3:44
8. Wille Zum Untergang 6:02
9. Heaven TV 5:03
10. The Almightiness Contradiction 4:34

Added: December 17th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace
Hits: 1853
Language: english

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Ocean, The: Anthropocentric
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-17 15:43:02
My Score:

The Almightiness Contradiction

Anthropocentric is the perfect definition of a hit-and-miss album for me. There are some huge "hits" that border on masterpiece status, yet there is a decent portion of music here that just fails to capture me in any way. Not because it's bad - if you're a fan of The Ocean, you should love this entire album. The issue here is mainly just a feeling of inconsistency - the mellow post rock and progressive metal sections are very inspired and enjoyable, whereas the post-hardcore sections leave me cold. Although many will disagree with me, I wholeheartedly believe that The Ocean is much better when playing softer music. The Opeth-influenced heavy/light contrasts are something that these guys just can't quite pull off without a slightly awkward atmosphere. It's really a shame, considering all of the fantastic moments on Anthropocentric. If you're a fan of The Ocean or experimental sludge/post metal in general, this is still more than worth an acquisition.

The sound here is experimental/progressive sludge-oriented post metal/hardcore (which is quite a mouthful, to say the least). There are plenty of influences from the post metal scene, as well as bands like Mastodon and even Opeth (mainly in the song structures). The mellow post rock/metal sections are the ones I find myself enjoying the most here - a song like "The Almightiness Contradiction" and "Willie Zum Undertang" is a perfect example of how amazing The Ocean can be. Unfortunately, heavier songs like "Sewers of the Soul" drag down my experience significantly. I enjoy heavy music, but The Ocean sounds a bit uninspired when playing hardcore sections. With that said, almost every song has a few redeemable qualities. Even "Sewers of the Soul" (my least favorite song here) has a solid guitar solo that brings the rest of the song up from pure mediocrity. Another big asset to Anthropocentric is the fantastic musicianship - The Ocean is an extremely tight playing unit, boasting some of the best musicianship in the genre. The two guitarists (Robin Staps and Jonathan Nido) are especially notable, mainly due their terrific guitar harmonies. In a song like "Willie Zum Undertang" it's clear how beautifully these guys can play. The vocals are a bit of a mixed bag for me, but they are always professional and well-done.

The production is great. Anthropocentric sounds absolutely wonderful. Everything sounds clean and crisp - I especially have to applaud the terrific sound of the drums.

Conclusion:

Although I can't say that Anthropocentric is an album that really amazed me, calling it anything less than high-quality would be a lie. I find myself enjoying the softer parts the most, but that's not to say that the heavier sections are poorly made. Fans of The Ocean will adore this album, and I also enjoy it to some extent. For an album that is high-quality, will satisfy the band's fanbase, and attract new fans, 3.5 stars are well deserved. Though far from essential, this still comes as a recommended purchase for post metal fans.



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