Sound — 9
After what seems like a small enternity after Heliocentric (despite it being a few months, must just be my bad body clock) The Ocean has graced us with a gift (Heh). Much in the same way as Precambrian was split in to two CD's, one heavy and orchestral, the other VERY heavy and not as orchestral. Continuing with the proggy-sludge-score sound of before, Anthropocentric takes a critique of christianity and creationism through the story of the Brothers Zaramasov and the second coming of christ. The music, as it did on Heliocentric, makes a grand canvas for telling a story and much like many new releases these past few years, most of the songs interlink with one and other, both story wise and track-by-track. Keeping many (if not all) of the musical elements of Heliocentric, the core sound of The Ocean Collective remains unchanged. Yet everything seems thicker and heavier, as if they really mean it to be the heavier sister to Heliocentric. There's a substantial amount of multitracking and subtle instrumentation being pushed into the mix, which by the way, is a pretty damn good mix for a metal record. As well as being heavier, its somewhat darker, more morose and faster, surprisingly. The uplifting melodies and fantastic sludge riffing has become a bit more chromatic and monotone, focusing on amelodic harmonies and shorter clean vocal sections (yet more instrumental sections, oddly enough) which are conversely really, really fantastic. The first and second tracks 'Anthropocentric' and 'The Grand Inquisitor I' exemplify this. Hell, there's even some delves into fast paced hardcore and SikTh style prog like on the song 'The Grand Inquisitor II' which has one of the best chorus's you'd have heard in a long time. TOC are one of the few bands that really progress with each double release, always adding and not taking away and having more of the good bits just makes it better.
Lyrics — 8
Loic Rosetti is one of the greater vocalists within the post-metally/sludge metal scene and has a voice made of infectious hooks and heavy, heavy metal. Although having a typical metalcore/hardcore style growl at hand, its used in such a way that it sounds totally different from other bands with a similar vocal style. The clean sections in Anthropocentric are fantasic, wether it be the chorus's or the Robb Flynn 'choked' style of growling that lift the faster, heavier moments into the air. The themes and lyrics (by guitarist Robin Staps, I think), as mentioned, center around two brothers, Ivan and Alyoscha Zaramasov, one is an atheist and the other a monk. They have a conversation/debate over the parable of the second coming of Christ which goes along the lines of 'Ivan tells Alyoscha the story of a Second Coming of Christ in 16th century Sevilla. According to this parable, Jesus is arrested by the Catholic inquisition. The grand inquisitor who interrogates Jesus casts a new light on the legend of the temptation of Christ: he reproaches Jesus with having betrayed humanity and having deprived man of salvation by offering him freedom.' Fairly atypical and quite controversial stuff, but lyrically and vocally well presented, although some may be turned off by it.
Overall Impression — 8
The Ocean Collective have their own subgenre really (progressive avant-garde sludge-score doomrock, or whatever they call themselves), and Anthropocentric only really has a similar sound to Heliocentric. But think of it like an upgrade of sorts to Heliocentric: Everything's heavier, faster, more diverse, somewhat more melodic, equally wierd like having clean guitar over thrash beats, and in the end all the better for it. Its not like one of those releases which goes all out to actually try to mess with your head. And as mentioned, a true progression in one form or another. Songs to look out for: All of them apart from 'The Grand Inquisitor III' which sounds unnecassary. Some sort of electronic groove and lots of spangly noises and a female vocalist with a length that ties in at just under a measly 2 minutes.