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Deathscapes Of The Subconscious

Unique Leader (2014)
Rating: 7/10

You can always tell the technical metal bands, especially those of a death metal slant, from the more traditional examples. For instance, bands such as Omnihility just have to boast quizzical song titles such as ‘Molecular Resurrection’ and ‘Contemplating The Ineffable’. However, when one hears the jarring assault of these tracks, one can understand why such intricacy has been bestowed upon our ears.

Deathscapes Of The Subconscious is the follow-up composition to 2012 debut Biogenesis, both being offerings from Eugene, Oregon-based techno-deathsters Omnihility, who since their inception in 2009 have explored avenues of the metaphysical and malevolence in equal measure.

Via a belligerent framework, this band fries the brain with a sound that instead of opting for jazzed-up progression inflicts its wounds through more devastating complexity. From a mixture of barked and guttural vocal expressions – courtesy of John Kurzejeski – Omnihility remains an accessible force rather than one which chooses to alienate its audience. We get a formidable mixture of, say, Suffocation and Origin, channelled via the celestial jarring of guitarist Dan Rabago, who is the only original member of the combo.

Opener ‘Molecular Resurrection’ is a staggering seven-minute spine-extractor reliant on the pounding drums of Steve Crum, whose flailing style knits together the barrage of bass and guitar, enabling the energy to flow through the wall of intricacy but all the while remaining extreme in weight and speed. With ‘Contemplating The Ineffable’ there’s that same unrelenting nature of a beast that refuses to divulge in nonsense, but instead continues on its path of destruction and yet maintaining high levels of technicality.

Although this is an album boasting pattern shifts galore, amidst a sea of blast-beats and multi-layered arrangements one can only stand back and admire the intellectual property that Omnihility has constructed. It’s certainly not old in nature – far from it – but whereas so many bands of this variety tend to get rather flashy with their self-indulgent twiddling and at times sacrifice weight for the more befuddling trends, this just ploughs on and on like a death-hammer pounded by the gods.

With ‘Lost Sands Of Antiquity’ there’s a fantastic melody from the off, and with a vocal bellow reminding one of Deicide there’s no end when it comes to that barrage of slamming guitar and equally murderous percussion. There may be those, however, who argue that this new record is just a tad clicky in its drum escapades or that the whole feel of the album is one so clinically built that it lacks any real soul, but if one chooses to keep open-minded towards the likes of ‘Disseminate’ then one can only admire the sheer frenzied brilliance showcased throughout. Admittedly, it appears that some of the riffs do return time and time again in recycled fashion, but when the songs are delivered in shorter fashion they work best.

Indeed, while contemporary by design, there are hints of older bands which have evolved through the decades, but the main issue I do have is that some of the songs are way too long and could have achieved more of an impact if delivered in a more compact style. It’s nonetheless still nice to hear a technical death metal album in the modern era that doesn’t attempt to scale extra-terrestrial heights, and so I give Omnihility the thumbs up and hope that next time they’ll be shorn of some of the flab that has a tendency to bog this record down.

Neil Arnold

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