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3.54 | 13 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2010


1. Shamayim (01:53)
2. Firmament (07:29)
3. The First Commandment of the Luminaries (06:47)
4. Ptolemy Was Wrong (06:28)
5. Metaphysics of the Hangman (05:41)
6. Catharsis of a Heretic (02:08)
7. Swallowed by the Earth (04:59)
8. Epiphany (03:37)
9. The Origin of Species (07:23)
10.The Origin of God (04:33)

Total Time 50:58


- Luc Hess / drums
- Louis Jucker / bass, vocals
- Loïc Rossetti / vocals
- Jonathan Nido / guitar
- Robin Staps / guitar, electronics
- Julien Fehlmann / sound

Guest musicians:
- Esther Monnat / cello
- Celine Portat / viola
- Estelle Beiner / violin
- Lionel Gafner / contrabass
- Vincent Membrez / piano
- Jerome Correa / saxophone
- Robert Gutowski / trombone
- Hans Albert Staps / trumpet
- James Yates / vibraphone
- Rene Nocon / vocals on "Ptolemy Was Wrong"
- Meta / additional vocals on "Swallowed By The Earth"

About this release

CD released 13th April 2010 on Metal Blade Records (3984-14899-0).

CD reissued 2011 on Fono Ltd. (FO829CD).

Recorded at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, between April and December 2009

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and UMUR, Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Conor Fynes
'Heliocentric' - The Ocean (6/10)

As the first in a two part companionship album revolving heavily around religious critique and a humanistic (and quite often negative) study of the Christian faith, 'Heliocentric' represents the beginning of a new era for Germany-based post metal act The Ocean. While I had listened to 'Anthropocentric' (the second half) before this one, I was already a fan of this band's complex and intelligent music from the 'Precambrian' days onwards, and my expectations were high for the next album. This band has always been prone to take on the most ambitious topics ('Precambrian' revolved around the creation of the Earth itself) and 'Heliocentric' is no exception to this rule. A deeply thought-provoking concept by all standards, 'Heliocentric' does ultimately disappoint my high expectations however. While the album is graced with some brilliant moments and lyrics that will surely upstart more than a few existential debates, the band's new direction does feel basic and less effectively executed than some of the great albums they have released in the past.

With a new vocalist here, the sound of the band is obviously changed a fair bit. While the abrasive growls are the same as they have always been (that is, a mixed bag), the introduction of Loic Rossetti is one of the more skilled singers the band has seen through its revolving door of musicians. However, while 'Anthropocentric' shows the singer's talent in an excellent light, 'Heliocentric' feels as if it stretches the vocalist's style in the wrong direction, usually towards a more abrasive direction that could vaguely be compared with the harsh style of Metallica vocalist James Hetfield. Ironically, many aspects of The Ocean's music have actually become much more melodic and harmonious since the atonal and unsettling sounds of 2007's 'Precambrian'. Even going as far as to have a piano-driven ballad like 'Ptolemy Was Wrong', 'Heliocentric' does see the band going in a slightly less complex direction with their music, and that did often feel to me like The Ocean's greatest strength; their meticulously crafted arrangements. Songs like 'Metaphysics Of The Hangman' are driven by chorus structures, and while this doesn't necessarily mean that the music will be worse, in The Ocean's case, it does. Mixed results on Rossetti's new vocals,some inconsistent writing, and a more accessible direction? Doesn't sound good, but the album is far from being poor, and still sports a good deal of strengths.

First among the positive aspects of 'Heliocentric' is the lyrical content and concept. On an even calibre with 'Anthropocentric' here, the lyrics generally revolve around the Church's resentment towards science, as well as to debunk Creationism (a theme further developed with the second part) and question the existence of a divine entity. While this will offend some Christian listeners surely, the lyrics are written quite tastefully, touching upon the subjects through a poetic, often metaphorical language that really becomes the highlight of the album.

The Ocean's 'Heliocentric' is certainly one of the weaker points of The Ocean's career, especially considering when the band has had such success with releasing absolutely phenomenal records. in the past. However, tracks like 'Firmament' and 'The Origin Of Species' and a few others provide a great listening experience typical of the band's output. While the album did not reach my expectations however, it would pave the way for 'Anthropocentric', which is the real masterpiece to be spawned from this project.
For over half a decade now, Germany’s The Ocean has been churching out some of the most forward thinking, textured, aurally massive sounds in metal. Following the path of the truly progressive, each of The Ocean‘s successive releases finds the band adding more layers, more tangible space and more shifting dynamics. Having had nearly 40 different band members come in and out of the band (which was originally called The Ocean Collective) may have something to do with that. These members help founding guitarist/songwriter Robin Staps’ musical vision take ever-shifting shapes.

Heliocentric, the follow up to 2007′s Precambrian, finds the band with a new vocalist, Loic Rossetti, and a fresh dose of inspiration adding large doses of melody (including very well sung, yes, SUNG, vocals). The songs find themselves somewhere between the crushing weight of Neurosis and the atmospheric strains of Ulver. The band shifts from rich death growls over two-ton guitars to piano & strings with clean, capable singing. Regardless of the dynamic, the mood throughout the album is one of serious thought, intense conviction and passionate belief. The album is actually the first half of a 2-album concept which takes a philosophical position in critiquing Christianity, tracing it from its origins as a movement 2 millennia ago to more current schools of thought along the lines of Darwin and Dawkins. It’s not a hateful, “let’s bash all the stupid Christians” free-for-all… it’s a much more subdued, honest critique which, honestly, is quite refreshing. Songs like “The Origin Of The Species” (one of the albums longer, more prog-like cuts), “Metaphysics Of The Hangman”, “Ptolemy Was Wrong” (with it’s Wagner-esque brooding heaviness of mood) and “Swallowed By The Earth” showcase the band’s undeniable strength, musical dexterity and ability to create massive tonal waves that will wash over the listener.

Fans of any of the band’s previous efforts, the aforementioned Ulver & Neurosis, as well as Isis, mid-era The Gathering, even Opeth will find something of great value here, methinks.

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  • MorniumGoatahl
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