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Album Reviews : The Ocean – Anthropocentric

By on October 28, 2010

Cut from the same cloth as post-metal acts such as Burst, Isis and Pelican, Berlin’s The Ocean (sometimes known as The Ocean Collective) have been crafting genuinely expansive and stunning music for just under a decade. Despite going through an enormous amount of vocalists across the years, their newest opus, Anthropocentric features the band’s relatively new frontman Loïc Rossetti, whose first album with the group was Heliocentric – released earlier this year and also the sister record to the German’s latest long player.

The leviathan opening title track gets the album moving at a bustling pace, with walls of guitars roaring over the top of loose-yet-tight drumming and Rossetti’s bellows, but instead of staying on the same tangent, the tune throws in a mammoth guitar riff before moving into a chorus section which highlights the frontman’s fantastic clean vocals – which are strong without being over the top, and melodic without ever being wimpy or poppy. The track is a true prog rock ‘epic’ in every sense of the word, and a restrained bridge raises it’s head with more impressive vocals and smothering guitars and bass. The nine minute song really does fly by, and before the listener has time to adjust the following track “The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness” comes in without missing a beat, once again featuring a fantastic chorus but at a more doom/drone tempo and chugging guitars – while it also boasts possibly Anthropocentric‘s best riff, with the monster at the 2:49 mark truly goose bump material. Almost every tune is built up multiple layers of intertwining guitars sections and sparsely, yet perfectly placed keyboards, meaning that the album slowly gives away it’s aural secrets to listener after every repeated spin.

“She was the Universe” is forged upon another titanic riff and a exceptionally catchy chorus, this time at a more driving time, and could potentially be the first ‘single’ to be taken off the record as it more or less sums up the record as a whole in a relatively to the point package. “Sewers of the Soul” and “Heaven TV” show of The Ocean’s hardier edge, with huge jagged, metallic riffs bounding across the songs, while “The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith” is almost the polar opposite of the aforementioned tracks, and is essentially a brief detour into trip-hop territory lead by the haunting session vocals of Rene Nocon. “The Almightiness Contradiction” closes out the album with beautiful clean picked guitars and weeping violins, before a tasteful acapella outro brings it all to a close.

This is an album full of countless highlights, and even though the occasional short interlude track does slightly stem the flow, it’s very hard fault the record that The Ocean have delivered. When 2010 is finally done and dusted, Anthropocentric will be up there with the best releases of the year, and has all the potential to not only win the ears of the metal community, but any music buff looking for a truly atmospheric, vast and mesmerizing LP. 9/10

Band: The Ocean
Album: Anthropocentric
Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive/Atmospheric Sludge
Origin: Berlin, Germany
Label: Metal Blade/Riot! Entertainment
www.theoceancollective.com

Track listing:

1. Anthropocentric
2. The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness <- Reviewer’s Choice
3. She Was The Universe
4. For He That Wavereth…
5. The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts
6. The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith
7. Sewers Of The Soul
8. Wille Zum Untergang
9. Heaven TV
10. The Almightiness Contradiction

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.