Friday, November 12, 2010

The Ocean - Anthropocentric


Band: The Ocean (US)
Album: Anthropocentric
Genre: Progressive/Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Hardcore

German heavy-hitters, The Ocean, return from the drawing-board with possibly the most intricate music in their sixth full-length album "Anthropocentric."  This release is a cumulation of  all the music these guys have made in the past, and I have to say - It sounds amazing.  You may be wondering, "what sets this album apart from their last full-length "Heliocentric?"  Here are all the juicy details:

The Ocean has always been a band that you could see progression in musical style and skill throughout their releases.  Some aspects took longer to improve on than others.  I'll be honest.  By the time "Heliocentric" came out, I was still not completely impressed by the clean singing that was being recorded on the albums.  While I felt that the vocals always fit the music, I always found myself frustrated in the fact that the clean vocals were always inches away from the line that distinguishes the good clean vocals from the great clean vocals.  I'm not sure if the vocalist got better with his voice, or the band got better at making the vocals blend with the music more, but, regardless, the cleans have crossed the metaphorical line, and truly sound great.  This new found vocal beauty gives "Anthropocentric" the most mature and distinguished release in The Ocean's repertoire thus far.  For the most part, the screams have transitioned over from the last album, which is a good thing.  Once you've got a solid growl mastered, there is little to no reason to change it.  The growls on "Anthropocentric" as deep, full growls that match the other instruments well.

Instruments wise, this album is a gem as well.  Though The Ocean has had a pretty consistent sound throughout most of their albums, the riffs and beats of this album are fresh, catchy, rolling and sluggish at the same time.  Though this formula is more than familiar, the band did a great job at not letting that restrain them from writing tracks that are reminiscent of older tracks, yet completely new at the same time.  My favorite track off the album, "The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts," is the epitome of my last statement.  With style similar to the track "Metaphysics of the Hangman" off their last album, the track blends heavy, whipping riff-action with a fast-paced chorus that sticks out as the high-point of the album.  The only difference is "The Grand Inquisitor II" is a far better track.

If you haven't noticed yet, The Ocean isn't in the bizz for making a few decent tracks to stand out from an otherwise bland album.  Quite the contrary, they are in the bizz for just making whole albums into experiences.  This is done through using the tracks of the album as vessels for carrying the overall mood of the album through it's duration.  This is precisely what The Ocean does on this release.  Through stellar pacing, and an atmosphere that could, well, fill an ocean, the band creates more than just an album on "Anthropocentric" - They craft a fine-tuned atmosphere that works in complete unison.

Though this album has many areas in which it demands high praise there was one place that kind of dropped the ball for me.  It spans from the sixth track on the album, "The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith."  While the track sounds cool in it's own respect, it features a female guest singer (To whom I don't know a name), and doesn't hold much musical content other than a fancy violin section, and a spacey tonal passage.  In short - The track seems like filler to me.  It was a huge let-down, and frankly, the more I listen to the album, the less I like the track.  It wouldn't have been such a let-down if the rest of the album weren't so damn good.  But to have such a rolling album come to a halt for this one outcast song was a major disappointment on my end.

Luckily, this one song wasn't nearly bad enough to ruin the album.  If you're a fan of any of The Ocean's previous works, I highly recommend you check out this one.  Combining all aspects of past releases, it delivers a punch so hard that it comes up just inches behind the bands magnum opus "Precambrian."  This is not an album you want to miss out on.

Score: 8/10


  1. "Though The Ocean has had a pretty consistent sound throughout most of their albums"

    Not even close.

  2. It' rather subjective. But, all the same, feedback is welcome.

  3. Anthropocentric slays!