The Ocean

Anthropocentric

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As befits their namesake, the Ocean think big. This album is the second half of a two-disc set; the first half, Heliocentric, was released at the beginning of 2010, with this disc finishing out the year. These two discs succeed a two-CD set, Precambrian, released in 2007. Each of these (each Ocean record, really) is a sit-down-with-the-lyric-sheet-and-ponder experience; it's possible to just let the loud guitars and thundering drums wash over you, as you would with, say, High on Fire, but that's so clearly not what the band wants to happen that Anthropocentric ceases to be cathartic, like all the best metal, and starts to feel like homework. That's not to say that the band doesn't rock. "The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts" has a headlong fury that's reminiscent of the Mars Volta at times, and the title track is a near-ten-minute stomp, like Isis crossed with the early-'90s hardcore band Judge. But they slow down and do the ballad thing too often, the better to communicate their ultra-important message, which boils down to a critique of Christianity just like six hundred thousand other metal bands, except these guys filter it through Dostoevsky 'cause they're smarter than you.

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