Anthropocentric by The Ocean is the heavier counterpart of Heliocentric. The whole idea of releasing lighter and heavier twin records has previously been done by Opeth with their Damnation and Deliverance records. Some years ago Arjen Lucassen did something similar with his Ayreon project under the guise of Universal Migrator parts 1 and 2. Let’s take a closer look at what Anthropocentric has to offer.
Thematically this album continues where Heliocentric left off, namely being a critique on the dogmatic refusal of many religions to accept new scientific ideas and views. Musically Anthropocentric is more in line with the heavier parts of Aeolian and Precambrian. That being said the musical boundaries between Heliocentric and this record aren’t that stringent as on Opeth’s Damnation/Deliverance or the two Universal Migrator records by Arjen Lucassen.
Indeed, the emphasis on Anthropocentric rests firmly on guitars and the technical prowess of The Ocean, with slight references to bands like Meshuggah, Mastodon and Neurosis thrown into the mix. This is perfectly demonstrated on the thunderous title track, She Was The Universe, Sewers Of The Soul and Heaven TV. The centrepiece of this album is formed by The Grant Inquisitor Parts One to Four, which form the musical synopsis of what Anthropocentric and Heliocentric are all about. I personally love these kinds of musical twists and turns. It’s again a testimony of the musical prowess of The Ocean and a slight nod to bands like Pink Floyd and King Crimson.
Despite the heavier and thunderous character of this album, there are some quieter and experimental tracks as well. These come in the form of Wille Zum Untergang, The Almightiness Contradiction and For He That Wavereth. Piano, cellos, acoustic guitars and soaring vocals by Loïc Rossetti are what makes those songs tick. They strengthen the musical connection with the lighter nature of Heliocentric. It also works the other way around, because the heavier tracks on that album such as Firmament and Metaphysics Of The Hangman connect perfectly with the heavier feel of Anthropocentric. Again, I really love those little idiosyncrasies.
It’s almost impossible to say which album is better, because Anthropocentric and Heliocentric are so closely connected to each other. It’s almost like yin and yang. Both records are terrific musical adventures in their own right. Put Anthropocentric and Heliocentric together and you’ve got the musical ride of a lifetime. Once again, simply brilliant!
written by Raymond Westland