Omnerod - The Amensal Rise review
|Album:||The Amensal Rise|
|Release date:||May 2023|
01. Sunday Heat [feat. Nicolas Draps & Astrid Buol]
03. Spore [feat. Eerik Maurage, Frank Oliver James & Tom Germain]
05. The Amensal Rise [feat. Shachar Bieber, Nicolas Draps & Astrid Buol]
06. Towards The Core
07. The Commensal Fall
Omnerod’s eclectic prog sound has been exuberant right from the start, but time has added polish to their production and maturity to their songwriting. By album number 3, the Belgians have already evolved into a full-fledged beast.
When one listens to The Amensal Rise, it feels like one is listening to an amalgamation of everything that’s happened in heavy progressive music since the turn of the millennium (and this includes the more extreme end of the spectrum; while I would hesitate to outright call this ‘progressive death metal’, it’s definitely an album with extreme metal songs and sections). If one wants to try and identify the sound of different bands in here, it’s likely that Devin Townsend’s name will come into the equation, particularly when thinking of Deconstruction, as The Amensal Rise has both the bold, eerie clean vocals and visceral crunch of that release. Beyond that, though, one can easily find oneself prone to comparisons to Autotheism-era The Faceless, Between The Buried And Me, Rivers Of Nihil, Native Construct, and likely half a dozen other bands, if not more. Yet, while this album feels innately familiar, it’s also constructed in a way that’s unconstrained by any past influences.
Like a seemingly increasing number of prog-metal albums at the moment, The Amensal Rise is constructed with seamless transitions between songs to give off the vibe of being a single long song, and a long ‘song’ it is at 69 minutes. That’s 4 minutes longer than The World Is Quiet Here’s Zon from earlier this year; that was an album that felt similarly packed to the brim with wild ideas, yet it was one that I struggled to entirely click with despite giving it a lot of listens with which to impress me. I’ve also given The Amensal Rise a lot of listens, but that’s just been because it’s so enjoyable, I want to hear more of it. What have Omnerod done here to eclipse Zon? Pure and simply, the songs are just more memorable.
Some of that comes from the dynamics within songs; take opener “Sunday Heat”, for example, which dives into gnarly extremity with brutal growls and vulgar crunching guitar tones, but which also opts to pull back at certain moments for brief mid-song quiet interludes, and to also spice up some of the extremity with symphonic bombast and lively solos. What also helps is the diversity across the album; yes, that Deconstruction-esque balance of intensity, drama and wackiness is fairly consistently lingering, but being able to intersperse BTBAM-style circus vibes (“Satellites”), Latin guitar interludes (“Spore”) or jazzy breaks (also “Spore”) helps to shake things up.
Above all, though, what helps to make these songs more memorable is that they just contain more memorable content. There is A LOT of content within here, so it can be a lot to digest without repeat exposure, but there’s definitely moments and songs that stand out from the off, only to be later joined by other material on future listens. The clean build to the emphatic outro of “Satellites”, with oscillating keyboards playing over a nasty-as-hell groove, is an early highlight, while later on, “Towards The Core” has both filthy djenty grooves and bombastic clean vocal refrains. Still, I think probably my favourite material on The Amensal Rise lies in the middle, with the run of “Spore” through to the title track.
“Spore” is perhaps the most melodic song here; portions of it really remind me of what I could imagine The Dear Hunter sounding like if they ever pushed their proggier material into more metallic territory. Anthony Deneyer’s excellent vocals get a real chance to shine here; he has a voice that has a hint of that Heavy Devy boldness, but more grounded, and his tone and depth is really appealing. It’s tasked with navigating an eclectic 12-minute odyssey through various melodic and more extreme moments, and does so with aplomb. “Magnets” is much heavier, but retains some great hooks, including some tasty grooves in its later minutes. The title track perhaps pushes the emotional bombast further than the other tracks; there’s a multi-minute stretch near the end where the song slows down, and Deneyer’s cleans belt away with some flashy keyboards/orchestration swelling out the mix.
The Amensal Rise is a really bold, intense, unpredictable and compelling listen, and one that’s really well written in order to not sacrifice memorability in favour of elaborate excess. I wasn’t overly keen on debut album Ivory Dune, which had good ideas undermined by the execution, but 2019’s Arteries already represented a significant jump forwards, and album number 3 is a substantial improvement on top of that; those that had faith in the group’s initial efforts are very much being shown right by how they’ve evolved since.
||Written on 24.05.2023 by|
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