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Heliocentric

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The songs, art and lyrics of Heliocentric tell the story of the rise of the heliocentric world view and its effects on Christian beliefs from medieval times to Darwin and Dawkins. Musically, Heliocentric covers the largest range of dynamics and styles The Ocean has ever endeavored. There are a few really calm songs with mainly piano and vocals, as well as some crushing heavy tunes. There is a very special atmosphere to it that pervades the album comments guitarist Jonathon Nido.

Heliocentric continues where the Proterozoic half of the Precambiran album left off, with dense, epic songs and big orchestrations. The album was mainly recorded in the mountainous isolation of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the highest city in Europe. He band recorded and mixed the album with the band s live sound engineer Julien Fehlmann. We wanted to be in control of every single detail and we have an amazing studio at our disposal. Sound-wise this is by far the best sounding album by The Ocean to date.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 13, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: April 13, 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Run Time: 51 minutes
  • ASIN: B0039L1J6G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,893 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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