The Ocean’s Heliocentric; under the microscope
On a scale never before seen on The Monolith, we’ll be dedicating much of this week to a theme. We had Instrumental Music Week earlier this year, which was a lot of fun, but never before have we done something on this scale.
The reason for this devastating dedication? The Ocean, Germany’s premier progressive metal band, are releasing their sixth studio album Pelagial this week, and so in honour we’ll be taking a look at all things ocean-related in the realm of heavy music this week – not just for The Ocean, mind, but for all manner of aquatically-aligned bands, musicians, artists and albums.
In place of our usual Calm Before The Storm posts we’ll be taking a look at each of The Ocean’s previous studio full-lengths; highlighting a few core songs and generally brown-nosing them to the edge of the sevens seas.
Fourth up: Heliocentric [2010, Metal Blade Records]
The first of two albums released by The Ocean in 2010, united by their critiquing of monotheistic theology, Heliocentric is perhaps one of the ‘lightest’ albums the band have ever produced. As such, it took quite a while for many people to ‘get’ it – something Robin himself touched on in my interview with him – but it’s an absolutely incredible record that deserves repeat attention.
Track 01: “Shamayim” + Track 02: “Firmament“
The album’s opening song-proper “Firmament” contains a beautifully written riff, which is repeated throughout the song. Early iterations are soft and dark, but they build up more fully, and pack a massive punch when the song breaks.
Track 09: “The Origin Of Species“
Album closing two-fer “The Origin Of Species” and “The Origin Of God” explores the issue of evolution vs. intelligent design. ”The Origin Of Species” deals with irreducible complexity - the argument that evolution is too far fetched and biology too complex to have occurred ’naturally’ – but counters:
On top of the mountain peak, so high,
A steep wall of rock, impossible to climb;
Our imagination is left behind.
But there is a firm slope on the backside.
And even worms have simple eyes
That help them distinguish darkness from light.
Track 10: “The Origin Of God“
“The Origin Of God” deals with the other side of the coin – in particular the watchmaker fallacy – and delivers it with the infinitely shoutable “who made your architect?”:
If every complex structure needs an architect;
Then this prime mover must be even more complex than anything he created
Who made your architect?
Who made your architect?
Where does he come from?
What is he made of?
Personal theology aside, both songs are delivered with panache; the riffs and phrasing are gorgeous, and the vocals delivery is excellent.
That live version of “…God” always gives me chills, too…
Check back every day this week for another look at one of The Ocean’s LPs, as well as the rest of the content we have planned for this week! Check the section below on every article for what we’ve done so far.
The Ocean Week content so far: