Hailing from Edmonton Alberta Canada, Omniarch formed from the ashes of two former bands, Netherward and This is War with Morgan Lambert (guitar), Mason Wilson (guitar), Jon Hofmann (bass), Mackenzie LaHaye (vocals) and Henry Giesbrecht (drums) who had played gigs together in those separate bands, joining forces to create a wholly different alloy of Metal. Between the recording of the album and its release, Giesbrecht has stepped away with Sean Higgins now gracing the drum stool. Stepping into Oracle Studios with Diego Fernandez who Recorded, Mixed and Mastered this, their full debut album, they’re out to impress.
Technical Death Metal is the order of the day when it comes to Omniarch and that marks something of a style shift from the two bands who created this one. As the track titles suggest, each song is a vastly differing and unique journey through history, mythology, imagination, science fiction, and learning through introspection and reflection. Each member of the band brings his own energy as is a seasoned professional when it comes to the musicianship which is something that shines through from the very start of the record. “Caligula” might have it’s fair share of a aggressive Death Metal vocals but it also has a glorious melodic passage with a brief angelic clean vocal moment and Crossover Thrash gang chants. So let’s be clear, this is an collection of styles formulating a sound rather than being one for the purists. That’s also true of the riffs which cut seamlessly between styles without any borders or boundaries which makes for a rampant affair. “A Voracious Awakening” has some bright Melodic Death Metal leads before those caustic vocals start and there are points during the longer instrumental sections when you could think you’ve been zapped into August Burns Red, such is the quality on show here. The galloping, driven nature of “Humanaut” which has arguably LaHaye’s finest vocal performance of the record within it, has a distinctive The Black Dahlia Murder vibe to it. Some venomously evil lyrics and a myriad of incredible riffs. Omniarch write with Wilson and Lambert creating the riffs first before the rhythm section come on board and the ideas then are adjusted accordingly and that really shows here. There must have been some points where Hofmann and Giesbrecht listened to the riffs alone and wondered how they were going to shoehorn their parts into the raw material.
“Ohm Cairn” continues the journey through time and space with LaHaye’s storytelling capabilities tested by the song structures themselves. The bands sound works because the vocal injections allow enough time for the sheer volume of riffs, pounding drum fills and crushing bass lines to permiate. There are a couple of clean vocal lines on this cut during a melodic drop off which aren’t strictly necessary but it does give the opportunity for LaHaye to reach new lows at the end of the track. “Wrath of Erymanthos” sees Wilson and Lambert squeal up the riffs perfectly and some odd time signature moments are like breakneck twists and turns in a thriller. The riffs keep coming at but not quite at the frenetic pace of some of the bands that you might consider to be their rivals on this evidence. Unlike say a record from The Faceless or Rings Of Saturn, while there are moments when you find yourself thinking what have I just heard? You will be able to hear everything without missing out. That’s not a bad thing and there is no speed for speeds sake. Single “Pathfinder” dispenses with the introduction and gets straight into the vocals within seconds. Bringing back the gang chants which will go down a storm live, some may miss genre tag this one as Metalcore but that kind of nonsense happens all the time. A breakneck track, there is no laurel resting on it, instead riff after riff are thrown in with some seriously good pace changes making all the difference to make this one a stand out cut. Slowing things down from frenetic to fast “Ursa Major” is a piece of epic grandeur that has Progressive touches the could see the band follow the path of the likes of Obscura, should they wish to continue in that vein. Longer tracks are no stress or strain for Omniarch as they have an ocean of ideas and creativity in abundance [8/10]
1. Caligula (7:00)
2. A Voracious Awakening (3:57)
3. Humanaut (4:25)
4. Ohm Cairn (6:40)
5. Wrath of Erymanthos (4:06)
6. Pathfinder (3:55)
7. Ursa Major (7:39)
“Self Titled” by Omniarch is out 8th May with pre-orders available over at bandcamp