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Exploring new territory - 89%

Bent__Canoe, August 13th, 2019

The Ocean has quite an impressive discography boasting several high quality releases. It seems to me that Heliocentric is often overlooked by fans because it was the follow up to the massive Precambrian, one of the most highly praised albums of its kind. Heliocentric is also the first The Ocean album to have a consistent album without having several guest musicians.

The main building block of this album are the massive riffs that are absolutely crushing, groovy, and still retain some melody. Every guitar driven song opens up with amazing riffing, my personal favorite being the opening riff of “Firmament”. The drums on this album are another highlight, sometimes using odd time signatures, and sometimes keeping it simpler, but always supporting and elevating the music. There are also many excellent drum fills, showcasing Luc’s technical ability and craftsmanship behind the kit.

The song structures on this album are simple, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since they make it work well. The verse chorus verse song structure is the main song structure on this album, with occasional instrumental sections added such as around 4:07 on “Firmament” where an ambient atmospheric section is added which leads to another climax in the song, and the beautiful outro to “The Origin of God” to close out the album. The main compositional highlight of the album however is the piano solo in “The First Commandment of the Luminaries” adding a new texture to the music and delivering a healthy dose of melody to the song. The band still makes use of atypical instrumentation with strings, horns, and the aforementioned piano solo providing plenty of melody and emotion for the compositions.

This album is, without doubt, The Oceans best album vocally, with their new vocalist delivering both furious and unique sounding growls and some great cleans as well. These 2 vocal styles provide nice dynamic, and make for some damn good choruses throughout the album on songs such as “Firmament” and “Metaphysics of the Hangman”. The only disappointing vocal performance is on “Ptolemy was Wrong”, which is honestly the only bad track off the album unless you count the somewhat pointless intro track. Even the soft and short “Epiphany” is an enjoyable listen, even when isolated from the album.

I honestly don’t care for lyrics 99% of the time, but I do think the theme and album cover of this album suit this album very well, and I can appreciate the band making logical criticisms of Christianity rather than trying to be as blasphemous and offensive as possible like many black metal bands do.

Unique and emotional, The Ocean has delivered with their follow up to Precambrian, which is considered to be their magnum opus. Giant and well though out riffs, stellar drumming, odd and varied instrumentation, atmospheric sections and the best vocals I’ve heard from any post metal band make this album close to a masterpiece, but not quite there yet because of a few weaker tracks which drag the album down to the point where it just misses masterpiece status. This album is a fine slab of post metal and worth several relistens.

Favorite tracks, “Firmament”, “The First Commandment of the Luminaries”, and “Metaphysics of the Hangman”