Friday, March 11, 2016

Omnihility - Dominion Of Misery (2016)

Coming out of Oregon, this technical death metal act are back with their third release on Unique Leader and it's for the most part, pretty solid. Dan delivers the riffs, which are heavily inspired by acts like Decapitated and Origin, but I'd say that these guys are doing a better job than both bands are right now. I actually saw the two aforementioned live in '14 and was quite bored by both. I feel that Omnihility have a bit more life in them, with a more rambunctious album and fiercer sound. Steve Crum really does a great job on the kit as he provides most of that liveliness I'm describing here, as Adam Toepfer handles the fiendish growls, which are just as thick and menacing as one should expect for a band of this nature. Rounding it all out is the Japanese born Isamu Sato, who pounds the bass (and used to perform both bass and vocals in death/doom act Shadow Of The Torturer – bet you didn't know that) and probably can tell me what I'm supposed to do in many of the independent Japanese games I'm stuck in right now. (Another hobby of mine.) I sadly never got around to learning Kanji.

In any case, these four manage to make a rather solid slog of death metal that hits all the right notes and makes for a mound of pure extremity. But here's what they don't do very well, and I think it's a definite constructive criticism. Most of the songs on Dominion Of Misery and the band's previous album Deathscapes Of The Unconscious (despite the cool throwback to Doom II cover artwork) are very derivative of each other. Now if you'll look at the score for the band's previous record on Metal Archives, you'll see that it has a 45%. I didn't read the review, but I sense that the reviewer felt the same as I do here. The record offers a lot of beef and it's also as I said, very reminiscent of acts like Origin and Decapitated. But the problem for me is that there's just not enough here to differentiate one track from the next. It's done well from a technical death standpoint, but I don't think it's the kind of album that has room to breathe. Songs definitely need time to breathe, maybe some atmosphere or some tempo changes could help, perhaps even some unexpected ideas flowing into the mix. Perhaps if Sato-san brought some of that death/doom style into the mix, it could make for a really different kind of technical doom/death which would certainly help the band to stand out a little bit. Nevertheless, I don't think that the record deserves something of a 45% or even a 60% because it's really not that bad. There are several acts out there that aren't really doing a good job of this at all, as well as the fact that I would rather just plain listen to Omnihility over some of the other acts I've been confronted with on a daily basis, like those screaming metalcore guys I had to review earlier this week. I'd take this record ten times over that.

Even though there are much better technical death acts than these guys right now, you really can't do wrong with this if you want to get a cruel and calculated punch in the face. There are visual novels and games with much lower scores than others, but that doesn't mean that I won't read or play them over others. If I like the subject matter, the score isn't really all that important and I feel the same way with this record. A 70% is still worth checking out, regardless... because hey – you might really dig it. Different strokes for different folks.

(10 Tracks, 41:00)


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