Infernal Masquerade webzine recently conducted an interview with Robin Staps of THE OCEAN. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
Due to "technical problems during the manufacturing process," the release date of "Anthropocentric", the new album from THE OCEAN has been pushed back to November 19 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy; and November 22 in the rest of Europe. The CD will be released as a limited digipak containing special packaging with two dials on top of the digipak visualizing the concept of the two CDs.
"Anthropocentric" was completed at Studio Mecanique in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the same facility where the band's previous effort, "Heliocentric", was recorded and mixed. The new CD was mastered on August 25 by Svante Forsbäck in Helsinki.
Musically, "Anthropocentric" feels somehow heavier than "Heliocentric". "The sound is more dense and maybe a tad more raw, which suits the songs perfectly", comments guitar player Jonathan Nido. The album covers a similar sonic and dynamic range as "Heliocentric", also including a number of calm, acoustic moments — but these are for the most part orchestrated with guitars, and not so much with piano and string section. The focus is on the heavy songs. "The album is a pretty big production, and still has a very earthy, organic feel to it", says Staps. "We have spent a great deal of time on the basic sound this time around, drums, bass, guitars and vocals… and at this stage I am pretty confident that this will pay off in the end!"
As far as the concepts behind "Anthropocentric" are concerned, the focus is on man and his place in the universe: at the center, as many fundamental Christians still claim today, or more likely a dust particle in its periphery? All lyrics are circling around this question. "'Anthropocentric' will continue the critique of Christianity, inspired by the questions that Dostoyevsky asked and some of the answers that Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Dawkins gave," says Staps.
At the base of the album are three songs with the titles "The Grand Inquisitor I, II and III". These songs have been inspired by the chapter of the same title in Fjodor Dostoyevsky's novel "The Brothers Karamasov": a conversation between the brothers Ivan, an atheist, and Alyoscha, a monk. 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 giving him freedom. The conversation between Ivan and Alyoscha mirrors, to some degree, the conversation between the grand inquisitor and Christ and raises more questions than it answers. "This long dialogue, which for the most part is rather a monologue of Ivan, is so complex and recondite that one could easily find inspiration for 10 concept albums about Christianity in it," explains Staps.
Only six guest musicians appear on the album, all classical musicians, most of whom can be heard on the CD's final cut. "Anthropocentric" is an effort by THE OCEAN's consolidated nucleus. "It is the first album where all members have actively partaken in the songwriting," says Staps.
"Anthropocentric" track listing:
02. The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness
03. She Was The Universe
04. For He That Wavereth…
05. The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots & Locusts
06. The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith
07. Sewers Of The Soul
08. Wille Zum Untergang
09. Heaven TV
10. The Almightiness Contradiction
11. The Grand Inquisitor IV: Exclusion From Redemption
The last track is a bonus track which will only appear on the vinyl and the limited European deluxe digipak version.