Metal Blade 2010
Sure challenging the viewpoints of creationism and fundamentalism may seem like a pursuit best left for Deicide, but with “Anthropocentric” German outfit The Ocean have presented a worthy argument, musically at least, if not theoretically as well. This latest offering serves as the companion and finale to the concept started on “Heliocentric“, which saw a release earlier this year.
While “Heliocentric” focused on the formation of the universe and attempts to understand them through religion and theories, “Anthropocentric” is instead the far more aggressive contrarian-styled counterpoint. A literary-backed challenge of viewpoints and concepts that is reflected not only in lyrical content, but in tone and voraciousness as well.
“Anthropocentric” is assuredly an ambitious statement that finds the band dabbling in a number of musical styles, while retaining the core values espoused from the likes of Neurosis, Isis, etc. that have helped to define them throughout the years
That isn’t to say that this album is without its departures though. “The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain Of Faith” is a female vocal led journey through electronica that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Portishead album; while the initial entangled warm acoustics of “Wille Zum Untergang” could give dredg a run for their money.
Still, intricacy and convergence remain The Ocean‘s key defining traits and the balance of haunting, often string-laden melodies and chuggy hostile intent is as mentally stimulating as it is cathartic. Of course there’s always a tight rope to be walked when basing an albums worth of material around a concept and the weighty nature of this effort is often clouded momentum wise as a result.
But as a complete package “Anthropocentric” remains as dense and adventurous as one would expect. Few bands have the grace and musical dexterity to tackle this many genres and mesh them in such a hulking sonic organism. It may not be without faults, but then neither is the subject matter.
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