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4.2 out of 5 stars11
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on April 21, 2010
This is a review I didn't want to write, and this is an album that I've tried very hard, through several listens, to ignore its shortcomings. As an album, this disc probably deserves three and a half or even four stars. But as an album by one of my favorite bands, The Ocean, I'm rather disappointed.

On one hand, the new direction taken by the prinicple member of the Ocean Collective (guitarist Jonathan Nido) seems like a natural enough evolution of the music, with more piano and strings throughout. And while there are still brutal passages peppered throughout the album, the real downfall of this "new collective" is the vocalist, newcomer Loic Rossetti. At times he comes across more as a contestant on American Idol than the frontman for one of the darkest, heaviest, most epic metal bands I've ever heard and loved.

Track 2 actually starts the album, as the first track is merely an ambient intro. This opener, "Firmament," gets us off to a flying start and is definitely a high point of the disc. Tool-esque rhythms, tension/release techniques, and even some brutality this early on would appear to set us on a path through the latest vision by an extrordinary group. Track 3 is also promising and even enjoyable, but still not quite what I've come to expect from The Ocean.

However, the path becomes quickly overgrown with too-perfect, radio-friendly vocal melodies and simplistic arrangements, which become almost unbearable on "Ptolemy Was Wrong," "Catharsis of a Heretic," and "Epiphany."

There are still high points throughout, and the melodic vocals, while still too pop-perfect, even work well sometimes, as on "Metaphysics of the Hangman" and "Swallowed by the Earth." Still, the death metal vocals are spot-on, and the music is really fantastic for the most part. Not to be ignored, the sound quality here is PERFECT.

While I was disappointed with this follow-up to 3 brilliant works--"Fluxion," "Aeolian," and "Precambrian"--hope springs eternal! "Heliocentric" is the first release of two this year by The Ocean. "Anthropocentric" is the title of "part 2" of their latest work, and will be released in the fall. It's supposed to be the more technical and heavy of the pair, so The Ocean still have a chance to redeem themselves.

I'll be looking forward to giving five stars to "Anthropocentric" in a few months. Until then, I'll keep on spinning the three albums that gave me such high hopes for this latest offering.
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on July 1, 2010
I was initially underwhelmed by their latest effort Heliocentric, but that disc has proven to be a grower and I'm quite impressed with it. Many long-time Ocean fans may bemoan the new vocalist, but is he really any worse than anybody else they had in the past? I don' think so. And while his clean singing sounds a bit like Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows, he shows that he is capable of going from a light croon to a full-bodied roar.

The album itself has an excellent opener in Firmament (I don't really count the short intro track). The next couple of songs slowly sink the album into a lull and here's where a first time listener would begin to despair. But things really begin to pick up with Metaphysics Of The Hangman and Swallowed by The Earth. Epiphany is a quiet little ditty that features piano and string work that sounds like it could have been taken off of an early Tori Amos album. The lyrics of the song are incredibly introspective. And then we have the final two songs (The Origin Of Species, The Origin Of God) that share a common riff. This ending duology is worth the price of admission alone as once again the lyrics run very deep while the music builds to a massive climax. You will be hard pressed to find a more intense piece of music than the first 2 minutes of The Origin of God. What makes it even more stunning is that once the clean vocals kick in, there is hardly any guitar left in the mix at all. The accompaniment is almost all horns, yet it remains very heavy. How do they do that?

This album does not quite reach the heights of Fluxion or Precambrian, but is still a must-have if you are a fan of The Ocean. And for those of you just discovering this wonderful band, this would make a fine starting point as it is pretty accessible by Ocean standards. I'm really looking forward to the release of their next disc that compliments this one later in the year.

A strong 4 stars.
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on September 23, 2011
I must admit that I was little hesitant to get this after reading all the mixed reviews. But I am really glad that I did. This record has everything, but I think that the songwriting, both musically and lyrically is excellent and mature. The tempo changes are all there, and the hooks are fantastic. I didn't fall in love with it immediately, as I think that perhaps the order of songs on this album is slightly off for my taste. Metaphysics of the Hangman is not the right song to be that anchor to take the album from the first half to the second, I don't think. The highlights would have to be the amazing closers The Origin of Species / Origin of God and Swallowed by the Earth. My appreciation for this record was amplified after seeing them perform these songs live. The clean vocals are somewhat of an acquired taste, but I have gotten used to them, and I actually like them. I would highly recommend getting this album!
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on November 11, 2010
I don't typically write music reviews, but I felt compelled to add at least another 5 star recommendation for this album because it is one of my top albums of the year and I think it deserves more praise than it has received. I do own Precambrian and Aeolian, and consider them to be good, but not great releases. I like heavy music as much as the next guy, but I really had not heard anything on these two albums that made me think The Ocean had distinguished themselves from the pack. They were just another heavy, technically-proficient band.

I listened to Heliocentric not knowing that they had enlisted a new singer or that any changes to the "collective" had been made. Therefore, I did not really have any expectations for this album and went in with a clean slate. Quickly I realized that this was not the same band I had become accustomed to as I was blown away by the second track, "Firmament". It is rare that I immediately know that I like an album after a first listen, but this album passed the test and was given another listen at once.

Clean vocals do not automatically make a band "radio friendly" or "sell outs". It can add an additional, more mature layer if done correctly. Bands like Opeth, Mastodon, and Isis employ the heavy/clean vocal mix effectively and I believe The Ocean should be put in that group as well. I don't listen to much radio, but I seriously doubt we'll be hearing them played on rock stations any time soon.
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on September 15, 2010
First I want to say long live the CD! The Ocean maximizes this format with beautifully crafted artwork in each album, each one unique, and this one no different, with each song represented by a seperate card, lyrics on one side, and a beautifully detailed, Davinci-esque painting on the back. You can't download those little touches, you need the cd to get them. One of the main reasons I continue to purchase cd's exclusively and rip later. Best of the best.

Not really a fan of the new singer simply because he's new and I'm used to the old ones, whom I loved. I'll give this album credit for being softer as I guess this is part one of a two album epic, and the second album isn't out yet. I was listening to Corrosion of Conformity all morning when this showed up so honestly my appetite was whetted for some heavier music. However, this is a well concieved and executed album, albeit more accessible, and perhaps more commercial (although this level of musicianship is beyond most metal bands' capabilities, there is quality writing throughout, and a variety of instruments).

It takes a whiile for this album to take off and start delivering the metal, and when it does, it slams, but it's a more subdued version of what's been delivered in the past. I must assume that the part-II of this next album will be crushingly heavy, and this one is softer. That said, it's softer in the sense of "Tool"

The song "Origin of the Species" has some meat to it for sure, however, but it's no chug chugger. It gets going and then eases down quickly and significantly throughout.

So I think when I get into the mood for some Ocean, I will probably reach for this one the least. But I simply prefer heavier music. Stll a fine effort, very listenable, and three stars.
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on May 19, 2010
Okay, to start there is a definite departure here from what the Ocean's first albums were. From absolute CRUSHING riffs found in Fluxion and Precambrian and lyrics more lyrics and vocals which are very directed, you now have an amalgam of piano, saxophone, and really chill music with a much better vocalist (all things considered he is a more skilled vocalist) to which they capitalize on.

Gone are songs like Orosirian or The Greatest Bane and now there are songs like Firmament and Metaphysics of the Hangman which are actually more along the lines of Tool and Nine Inch Nails (comparisons, fanboys will tear off my head). For me this is not a bad thing and it's even welcome. I'm giving the album 5 starts because I genuinely love this album. It's not like Fluxion or Precambrian, but if this has been their first album ever released I'd hope every following album sounded like it. It's really good with a talented vocalist. I'd love to see these guys play their old songs and see how their vocalist shapes up when singing Orosirian or Comfort Zones.

Okay, review:

First song's an intro; the kind you'd love to hear in an IMAX theater before taken on a visual journey through the Horsehead Nebula.

The next two are heavy, though again in the style more akin to NiN

Ptolemy was Wrong will be the first song where older fans literally get mad. This is a song which sounds more like the Aria in a musical; it's offbeat and to me neither poppy nor metal nor anything related. It's just offbeat.

Then Metaphysics, Catharsis, and Swallowed by the Earth are all a bit of both heavier metal and NiN vocals.

Epiphany is almost its own little musical-style intro the Origin of Species and Origin of God; both of which are songs in writing and style which oppose each other. They are all together a great outtrow.
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on February 14, 2013
In the World of post-metal, where Neurosis, Isis, and Cult of Luna set the bar, Ocean have songs that contend, but their albums seem to fall short with the lack of a hook those aforementioned bands can produce. "Firmament" and "The Origin of Species" are good tunes, but I couldn't get into the rest of Heliocentric. Something felt missing, like a sense of urgency. I've listened to their previous work and Heliocentric was supposed to be a step forward after a 3-year hiatus. It might be better than Aeolian or Precambrian, but it's just not an album I'll come back to.
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on June 8, 2010
This album is amazing, best yet by the ocean and that's saying something. Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.Buy it.
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on August 31, 2014
"Anthropocentric" is a much better album than this one. "Firmament" is a good song you could check out, but other than that this album isn't all that great.
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on April 16, 2014
I was initially drawn away from this album because I had heard so much flak from other Ocean fans. I finally decided to get this album and I am completely glad I did. It is definitely some of their lightest work, but it is executed in a very professional way and blends very well with the classic ocean sound. This album being less heavy is not a bad thing. This isn't a pop album. Some parts of this album give me almost a jazzy feel, and there are some nice piano pieces that remind me a bit of Queen. Don't get me wrong though this album still has its heavy moments. The variety of sounds they create in this albums make the build ups and album climaxes much more powerful.

This album definitely isn't for everyone. Some people like their metal strictly heavy with no room for experimentation or change.

However if you are a little open minded and would like to hear a pleasant surprise give this album a spin.
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