Let me start off this review by saying this: Go out and buy this album. This is an album that reminds listeners what a musical journey is all about. The Ocean has created a sonic landscape that is a joy to travel through. This album traverses from heavy pounding riffs to mellow, beautiful passages that warrant inner reflection. This is one of those albums that you start and don’t touch afterwards. It needs to be listened to in its entirety to be fully appreciated.
The album starts with an ambient track, ‘Shamayim’ (literally ‘sky’ in Hebrew), that goes into one of the heavier tracks of the album, ‘Firmament’. It is a very dynamic song, ranging from overdriven guitars with sung vocals up to all out distortion with bellowed lyrics down to mellow guitar lines. The guitars sound thick without being muddy. The drums could use a little more ‘oomph’ but sound very crisp. The bass rolls easily and though the tone isn’t crisp and sharp, the notes are easily defined. The vocals are mixed very well especially considering there are often multiple vocal harmonies occurring at once.
The production continues throughout the rest of the album, taking into account all of the extra instruments used, such as strings, piano, percussion, etc… Each of these instruments comes through with clarity and sound very mellow and pleasant.
The amazing thing about this song and the album as a whole is the level of dynamics. One of the complaints of many new releases is that they seem compressed to such extremes that many of the instruments sound distorted. In old recordings, the volume of a track swelled with the intensity of the playing. Such is the case here in ‘Heliocentric’. The changes in volume add to the feeling of the album being a journey.
Probably the highest compliment that I can pay to this album is that I couldn’t wait to come back and revisit certain tracks. Knowing that ‘Heliocentric’ is the first of two albums, I can honestly say that I cannot wait for ‘Anthropocentric’. This album is definitely for fans of Opeth, Riverside, Orphaned Land, and other such acts.
4.5 out of 5 skulls