The Ocean: Anthropocentric
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I was blown away by The Ocean's earlier release this year, Heliocentric. (So was Peter.) But deep down, I knew it wasn't quite complete - and here is presented its complement.
With the exception of their first album, The Ocean have always dealt with duality in their releases. Fluxion and Aeolian were designed to be listened to together, and were initially planned as a single release, but were kept separate by the record company.
2007's Precambrian was a sprawling, double disc epic with one part wonderfully orchestrated heavy metal and the other part a blistering, deafening metal powerhouse.
The same has occurred here with Anthropocentric. A continuation on many of the themes presented in Heliocentric, this is its heavier big brother. Rather than starting with ambient noises and instrumentals like the previous record, Anthropocentric starts with the agonized screams of vocalist Loïc Rossetti thundering forth before the tremendous guitars even begin. And with that, the stage is set for the heavy that is to follow.
That's not to say that Anthropocentric doesn't have touches of grace and moments of calm. There is real beauty here in a few spots, but they're fewer and further between than on Heliocentric. This is a consolidation of the sounds they've played with in their previous albums, creating something better than the sum of its parts.
Ultimately, Heliocentric may be a slightly superior album. However, in my head, they'll always be one album - two halves of the same coin. As such, they may be the best metal to come out in 2010.
Final verdict: Adore it
It starts heavy and ends softer, the opposite of its other half, but in between, there's another shockingly powerful metal release. The Ocean continue to impress and I can't wait to see where else they will go in the years and albums to come. This is perfectly balanced and precisely crafted metal of the highest order.