The Ocean: Heliocentric
Click here for the artist's site
Never a group to settle for the same old thing, The Ocean (often known as The Ocean Collective) have impressed me with every album. A mix of ambient sounds, progressive metal, classical music, electronica and post-hard core, they really are one of the more unique bands playing heavy music.
Their latest release, Heliocentric, is no different in that regards. And yet, it is undoubtedly their most mature, focused and varied work to date.
The first and most notable change in the band comes in the form of Loïc Rosetti, vocalist. In the past, vocals on The Ocean albums are almost entirely harsh in nature. However, Rosetti instead chooses to employ clean, soulful vocals on the majority of the album. This serves multiple purposes. First, it makes the album more accessible to those put off by harsh vocals. Second, it deepens the album, giving it more breadth and layers of textures.
Musically, this is also The Ocean's most diverse album. While there is certainly the expected heavy riffs The Ocean is so good at, there is also an abundance of space. Many songs have quiet, introspective moments of sparse orchestration. There are also plenty of strings and piano on the album, each used to their strengths to broaden the music and provide a spacious, at times ethereal canvas for the thematic elements.
As might be supposed from the title of the album, Heliocentric deals with the rise of the idea of heliocentrism. Direct quotations from The Bible, as well as from many modern scientists and philosophers, it is a fascinating journey of an idea in evolution.
Great songs abound, with the final two tracks creating a powerful climax. However, my personal favorites are actually the two ballads, "Ptolemy was wrong" and "Epiphany". They are beautiful tracks that are perfect balances to the albums heavier moments.
Final Verdict: Adore it
The Ocean has created a wonderful, epic album with Heliocentric. I love all of their albums, but this is their most diverse, most interesting and most fully realized work yet. I look forward to Anthropocentric, due for release later this year. This is a great place to begin exploring this fascinating band that defies easy categorization.