THE OCEAN — Anthropocentric

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THE OCEAN - Anthropocentric cover
4.13 | 22 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2010

Tracklist


1. Anthropocentric (09:24)
2. The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov baseness (05:02)
3. She Was The Universe (05:39)
4. For He That Wavereth… (02:06)
5. The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts (06:33)
6. The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith (01:55)
7. Sewers Of The Soul (03:44)
8. Wille Zum Untergang (06:02)
9. Heaven TV (05:03)
10. The Almightiness Contradiction (04:34)

Total Time 50:02

Line-up/Musicians


- Luc Hess / drums
- Louis Jucker / bass
- Loïc Rossetti / vocals
- Jonathan Nido / guitar
- Robin Staps / guitar

About this release

CD released 9th November 2010 on Metal Blade Records (14930-0).

CD reissued 2011 on Fono Ltd. (FO869CD).

Three-sided 2LP released 2010 on Pelagic Records (PEL 008), limited to 1550 copies:

50 gold/gold
150 gold/blue with black in it (looks a bit greenish)
800 solid blue with a bit (5%) of white in it. -
550 black/black

Drums, guitars and bass were recorded at Studio Mécanique (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland). Strings were recorded at ABC Théatre (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland). Additional cello (Dalai Theofilopoulou's part) was recorded at Hidden Planet Studios (Berlin, Germany). Vocals were recorded at Oceanland Studios (Spain). All recordings were held between July 2009 and July 2010.

Mixed at Studio Mécanique. Mastered at Chartmakers (Helsinki, Finland).

Thanks to UMUR for the addition and Bosh66 for the updates

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THE OCEAN ANTHROPOCENTRIC reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
One of two albums that The Ocean released in 2010 themed around different models of looking at the universe (the other one, naturally, being Heliocentric), Anthropocentric finds the band playing in an atmospheric, post-rock influenced style reminiscent of a more melodic take on late Mastodon - perhaps with the progressive sounds a bit more tempered by melodic accessibility. Tied in with a concept about how fundamentalism in religion and Creationist theories tend towards a simplistic view of the universe which tends to assume that everything, like the title implies, revolves around humanity, it's an interesting and accessible entry into the world of progressive, atmospheric sludge metal.
UMUR
"Anthropocentric" is the 5th full-length studio album by German post hardcore/progressive metal act The Ocean (also known as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2010 and is the second release in a two album series which are thematically connected (the lyrical concept is a philosophical critique of fundamentalist Christianity and Creationism). The first release in the series was "Heliocentric" which was released in April 2010.

The Ocean have long been one of the leading progressive post-hardcore/metal acts out there along with acts like Burst and Between the Buried and Me and "Anthropocentric" is another proof of why that is. This is a band that works even with the smallest details to create a greater whole. Guitarist and main composer Robin Staps sure knows how to write both heavy, beautiful and structurally intriguing music (it should be mentioned that second guitarist Jonathan Nido has also written a great part of the music on this album). "Heliocentric" featured quite a bit of strings and piano but "Anthropocentric" is predominantly played with "regular" rock/metal instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Sometimes layered to sound fat, heavy and epic and sometimes more atmospheric and mellow. It´s safe to say that "Anthropocentric" is a very dynamic sounding album.

The vocals vary between harsh hardcore type shouting and clean vocals. The relatively short "The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith" features clean female vocals by Sheila Aguinaldo. The clean male vocals are skillfully executed by lead vocalist Loïc Rossetti, but there are probably some that´ll find them a bit too accessible and mainstream oriented. Some of his vocal parts and especially some of the backing vocals on the album remind me of Avenged Sevenfold.

"Anthropocentric" is very well produced. It features a big, warm and powerful sound production where every detail is heard. Paired with strong songwriting and a flawless execution of the music, that makes "Anthropocentric" a really strong album by The Ocean. I guess it´s not exactly as raw as some of the early releases by the band (especially "Aeolian (2005)" comes to mind), but it´s definitely just as intriguing albeit in a different way. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Conor Fynes
'Anthropocentric' - The Ocean (9/10)

With 2007's 'Precambrian', German post-metal group The Ocean (also known as Ocean Collective) came out with a two disc concept epic concerning nothing less than the turbulent creation of the planet Earth. To follow up something so vast, 2010 witnessed the band now releasing two companion albums, each dealing with such topics as the creation of man, the idea of god, and religion. Suffice to say, The Ocean are never short of ambition in the projects they choose to take. While the critique of religion and faith is as ripe a concept as any for a metal album, 'Heliocentric' did end up being a bit of a disappointment. Luckily, the second installment in this chapter of The Ocean turned out to be quite a return to power for the band. With 'Anthropocentric', The Ocean releases one of their most potent efforts yet, with a concept and lyrical content as profound and fiery as the music it is driven by.

When speaking of the sound of this album, there is definitely a more conventional melodic sense here (like 'Heliocentric') than there used to be, in no small part due to the addition of new vocalist Loïc Rossetti, whose clean singing is featured quite prominently here. However, unlike 'Heliocentric', very little of the heaviness and experimentation is relinquished, and there is a very good balance between the heavier vocals and lighter melodic singing. With many of the songs, the clean vocals make some pretty catchy and memorable hooks, but luckily don't feel superficial by doing so.

The title track leads off the album in full force; a nine minute episode of sludgy heaviness, mixed with rhythmic experimentation. While the track begins in a very typical, atonal style for The Ocean, the differences and developments start to be heard when the clean vocals come in, three and a half minutes into the album. In direct contrast to the brute growls, the vocals are often beautifully harmonized, although some of the more stylized singing of Loïc Rossetti can get a tad nasal at times. At least as far as the first track is concerned, the highlights reside in the beautiful mellower moments, where The Ocean gets to properly show their new grasp for great melodies.

Another highlight of the album is the single-worthy 'She Was The Universe', which is a memorable powerhouse from start to finish, despite being highly rhythmically irregular. Along with many of the songs here, the chorus is kept quite melodic. Other noteworthy songs include 'The Grand Inquisitor III', which is the most 'out there' track on 'Anthropocentric'- an electronic trip-hop acid tweak of an interlude- and 'Willie Zum Untergang', a very post-rockish track that showcases the band's more ethereal nature. The only song here that isn't excellent is 'Sewers Of The Soul', which keeps a relatively up- tempo, rock vibe without showing the same compositional complexity and intricacy of the rest of the album.

Lyrically, the material here is bound to cause some controversy, especially among the more religiously-inclined listeners. As was true with 'Heliocentric', 'Anthropocentric' is a harsh, to- the-point critique of Christian fundamentalism and hypocrisy. Philosophical opinions aside, the subject matter is intregated well into a sort of intellectual and thought-provoking poetry that's sure to stir up some debate amongst metalheads.

'Anthropocentric' may very well be a rival of 'Precambrian' for The Ocean's greatest work to date. Despite having one or two songs that feel a bit less inspired than the rest, 'Anthropocentric' is a true definition of the 'thinking man's metal'; highly complex and frenetic sludge metal, mixed with a truly ambitious scope. An imperfect album, but The Ocean's mastery of aesthetic and innovation is readily evident in spades.
Stooge
Anthropocentric was the second album released by The Ocean in 2010 (the first being Heliocentric). Having only listened to Heliocentric and Fluxion previously, my first instinct was that this album was pretty much par for the course for the band. But then I learned something: Never judge an album on a single listen, especially when the first listen is through cheap computer speakers.

With the second listen, I went with my favorite setup. Lying in bed, eyes closed, listening to my MP3 player. No distractions. Just me and the music. This allowed me to pick up on many of the nuances I missed on the first listen. It didn’t even sound like the same album!!

Anyways, why do I like it?

The Ocean is one of those groups (like Opeth, for an obvious example) that have the potential to draw fans to a more extreme form of music through their progressiveness and skill blended with accessibility. There are several moments on Anthropocentric where the band throws in aggressive, hardcore passages, and pairs them with melancholic but memorable sections that manage to stick in your head. While several bands make practice of this, The Ocean do it in such a way that it does not sound forced at all. You take a song like “She Was The Universe”, with a verse built around a simple but rather heavy groove. As the song builds toward the calming chorus, the sections are weaved together skillfully with the introduction of slick, melodic guitar work to form a seamless transition.

Several other tracks on the album are able to give such variety within a single track, pairing the beautiful with the brutal. There are others that isolate these moments and are more straightforward, going from one extreme (“For He That Wavereth...,” “A Tiny Grain Of Faith”) to the next (“Sewers of the Soul”). The album flows so well from beginning to end that I find myself appreciating it more as a total package than in pieces.

Anthropocentric was the first album by The Ocean that was a collaborative writing effort between all band members. This is definitely a practice they should continue in the future. This album comes highly recommended!!
J-Man
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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