Review: “Ominous Ubiquitous” by Kohnerah

Known for their lyrical themes of not only Death, Destruction and Mind Control but also of Failed Empires, Aliens and Demons are Kansas City Missouri based Death Metal quintet Kohnerah. Featuring in their ranks members and former members of Damned by the Pope, Moire and Diskreet this crew of Soldiers of Fortune are no strangers to acts of hostility with this project having existed in one form or another since 2016. Cuts have emerged in live and demo form from the band in 2018, 2019 and 2020 but with nothing officially committed to tape as a finished article. Until now. Engineered and recorded by Adam Mitchell (Daemon Poetica, Hammerlord, The Esoteric) at HammerFarm Music Studios in Lawrence, Kansas before being mastered by Dennis Israel (Moloch, Misery Index, Amon Amarth) at Clintworks Recording, Mixing & Mastering in Seth, Germany the bands debut album “Ominous Ubiquitous” has finally arrived, seven years and seven deadly sins since they started…

Adorned by album artwork from Mariusz Lewandowski, vocalist Stephen Babcock, guitarists JD Cantrell and Josh Riley alongside a rhythm section of Spencer Halstead on bass and drummer Chris Thorpe waste no further time in making their presence felt with “Ominous Ubiquitous“. They power through opening cut “Wake Of Oblivion” like their lives depended on it with a wealth of blast beats and technical leads making it a neck snapping experience from the first note. Flowing free from a similar vein to “Eradication” by Eaten By Sharks it feels like Kohnerah do themselves a disservice by calling themselves simply a Death Metal act because put simply there are so many more strings to their bow, especially technically. Seemingly the oldest cut in their arsenal, “Bovine Extinction” has been performed live since at least 2018 and it finds Babcock offering up some ear splitting death growls that boarder on Slam vocal territory while also housing a face melting solo on a cut that is reminiscent of the legendary Suffocation in their finest hour. Switching from solos to breakdowns piled upon breakdowns “Antimatter Annihilation” is a rapid fire spine juddering classic of vicious intent, Babcock’s vocal reaching hitherto unheard new levels of both the shrill and the deep as if his fragile body contains a wailing banshee and a cave dwelling beast at the same time.

Maintaining the furiously frenetic pace and energy which the band created with the first half of the record “Eye Of The Panopticon” adds a touch more panache with a sinister melodic moment mid cut that builds into a flamboyant extended solo of sublime quality. Purists may consider that a sell out moment with Progressive Metal leanings but in all honesty, the deviation from the core sound keeps things fresh while also allowing the heavier later part of the track to slap that much harder, to the point it will knock out your teeth if it catches you off guard. “Inoculus” is the stand out kit performance of the album, Thorpe causing tectonic plates to shift with his jackhammer footwork and incendiary fills that give the likes of Kevin Talley a real run for their money. Add in the razor sharp solo and you’ve got a killer on the loose in Disneyland. From this point onwards the album gets a little different with the final two cuts approaching the seven minute mark, “Plucked From The Sky” offering off kilter and slightly odd time signature stylings with a couple of minutes of extended instrumental before the vocals come into play. As if attempting not to be out done by his bandmates, Babcock once again offers a new dimension to his vocal prowess, this time giving the impression of a split personality with a throat shredding shriller style intertwining with his usual bitter roar. The intensity of that is matched by performance levels on “Elegiac Departure” which steals a page of the the Technical Progressive Death Metal playbook of bands like Obscura and waves it defiantly in their faces. The leads are rich, the percussion thunderously powerful and the vocals could well make your ears bleed. What more could you possibly want?! [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Wake Of Oblivion
  2. Bovine Excision
  3. Antimatter Annihilation
  4. Eye Of The Panopticon
  5. Inoculus
  6. Plucked From The Sky
  7. Elegiac Departure

Ominous Ubiquitous” by Kohnerah is out 13th January 2023 and might be available over at bandcamp.

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