Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
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.