The Ocean - Heliocentric (2010)
©Metal Blade Records


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

I am beginning to think that no matter how much you bend and manipulate the structure of The Ocean, their core, the heart and soul of the band, beams through. The day that element is extinguished is the day The Ocean will be no more. Fear not, for The Ocean is as strong as they've ever been. Their latest release "Heliocentric" accomplishes some dazzling feats, particularly replacing the voice of the band, in an attempt to follow up their 2006 masterpiece "Precabrian". This core/soul element is immediately evident in the introduction track 'Firmament'; not to mention, it presents new vocalist Loic Rossetti's sensuous vocals blended with what he's got for roars. Yep, The Ocean is back, and doing fine.

The drumming is tight (as expected), the guitar riffs tranverse and complicated and simplistic (as expected), righteous effects/strings and layers (as expected), and vocals dominantly clean.... what the? Yes exactly. I was not expecting to hear an overabundance of clean vocals but before you hardcore (character not genre) metal heads close this review, let me clearly point out that Loic Rossetti's vocals are absolutely sensational. To step up and fill the vocal void and do it so crushingly well, with such versatility, is above and beyond what fans are expecting. You will hear a great balance of soft/harsh vocals, however, it is not exactly a vocal approach The Ocean has focused on in the past. This is definitely not a bad thing by any means; it's just a clear indication of what a Progressive Metal band is supposed to do---PROGRESS!

Stepping out from behind the shadow of Precambrian, Heliocentric seems like a little brother in length, clocking in at 50m43s, it has enough protein to fill the stomachs of even the hungriest listener. Again, with their approach, it also seems as if the overall listening experience is more accessible to a broader fan base than previous release. Not in a sell out way but in an 'Opeth Syndrom' fashion. They're still underground as Hell and can be appealing to the masses. Heliocentric is exactly what the majority of The Ocean fans want. It may not be as technically stimulating as previous releases, but it is extremely pleasing to the ears and replay button.

For those of you looking for reasonable lyrical content from a philosophical standpoint (I'll let you discover the topic), this album has it covered. Who knows, perhaps all of the shifts and replacements of this band's players over the years is exactly what causes The Ocean to flourish. That too can make it exciting to see what the tide has yet bring in.

- Joel

Official Website


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