The Ocean

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.

The other hand of this concept, Anthropocentric, is scheduled for a Fall 2010 release. Until then, get Heliocentric and allow yourself to be overtaken. 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.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
June 24th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    I haven’t listened to the entire album but the samples I have heard are not what I expected. There were clean sung vocals on the mast album as well but these are hard to take at first spin. Good review. I’ll have to dive a little deeper into this. It just sounded so weak

  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    typo- “last album”

  3. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Yeah when I heard the concept behind this one I let out a long sad sigh. I think I would like to at least read the lyrics to see where these guys are coming from, but 99.99999% of the time whenever I see someone giving a critique of Christianity they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Also if any of their stuff is based on Richard Dawkins work, that completely discredits anything they have to say in my book. That guy is a lunatic.

  4. Commented by: Erroneous

    Yes, Aaronius it’s hard to discredit something that doesn’t exist. think about it.

    I’ll just quote Dawkins on this: why bother arguing with a moron, because the best possible outcome is that you’ll win an argument WITH a moron.

    Faith is a delusion. Period.
    Heliocentric is well-written and thought provocative, without being as insulting as I tend to be when it comes to bible basher. Well done.

  5. Commented by: mccumberv

    This is a great album, these guys are getting better and better, love the new vocals, great review!

  6. Commented by: stiffy

    Well I finally got a hold of this. Tis a great album. Still sounds like The Ocean. Can’t believe I waited so long to hear the entire thing.

  7. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Faith is a delusion period.

    That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve read lately.

    Even if you don’t believe in God, you have faith in something. It could be a simple as sitting in a chair. You have to have faith that it will hold you up.

    That “faith is delusion” line is tossed around way too much. Usually by people who don’t have anything factual to back up that statement with.

    I’m making a simple statement about how shallow this band’s concept seems to be. The fact that it bothers you must mean there’s something to what I’m saying.

  8. Commented by: Cynicgods

    It’s been a pleasure being a witness to this band’s growth and evolution. Keep up the good work, people.

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