Sydney based melodic metalcore up-and-comers, Oh/Villain, are set to rise to the top of the local Aussie hardcore scene with their breathtaking new EP, “Pilot” (set for release 30/06/2017). Melding together the technical and progressive approaches most commonly associated with bands such as Architects or Polaris with the emotional sensitivity and poetic lyricisms of bands such as The Amity Affliction and Foxblood, Oh/Villain pave the way for a sonic vision on “Pilot” that not only makes for a highly engaging listen but also an emotionally compelling and gripping musical journey.
“Pilot” opens with the group’s first single from the EP, Heartless which commences with a blissful and ambient post-rock influenced intro that would not be out of place on a Cloudkicker release, before kicking into an energetic and explosive post-hardcore piece, featuring all of the musical hallmarks associated with the best of the genre. Syncopated drumming patterns, infectious vocal melodies, soaring lead guitar passages, and electronic atmospherics adorn Heartless in a fashion that would not be unfamiliar to fans of acts such as Periphery, Architects or Polaris.
The second track, Constant follows in a similar fashion to the first track of the EP but further explores new musical territory with the introduction of a brief hymn-like choral arrangement towards the end of the song. This compositional decision adds a great deal of depth to the introspective lyrics and is one of my personal favourite moments on the EP that expresses Oh/Villain’s commitment to creating a release that is not only musically crushing but is also emotionally vulnerable and deeply engaging in every possible way.
The third track, Preacher kicks off with an undeniably groovy guitar riff that gradually develops into the most memorable chorus on the release. It is this track in which Julian Latouche truly demonstrates his vocal and lyrical abilities, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that he has what it takes to front a band of such musical vivacity.
The fourth track, Crying Wolf immediately thrusts the listener into a disorienting array of dissonant and syncopated, rhythmic patterns reminiscent of acts such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, and reminding the listener of the technical proficiency held by every member in the band. My personal favourite part of this track is quite possibly the spoken word section that starts at around the 1:50 mark. As a fan of such bands as Foxblood and Silent Planet, these kinds of lyrical monologues are truly a wonderful addition to a song if executed tastefully and sparingly, which, without a doubt, is definitely the case in this track. Furthermore, this track features a superbly placed acoustic interlude that makes me feel like I am listening to a mariachi band play metalcore. Whilst ‘mariachicore’ sounds like a niche musical market, the addition of acoustic guitars in this section really improves the dynamic variation of the track.
The fifth track on the EP, Find Me features many of the same defining elements of previous tracks, but unfortunately doesn’t quite stick to my bones in the same way. One of the more memorable sections of this song is the reverberated clean guitar passage that presents itself halfway through the song and then reappears for the tracks closing moments.
The sixth track on the release, Crow’s Feet has grown to be my favourite song on the EP. This sentimental and dynamic piece that deals with loss and grief goes to prove that sometimes less really is more. The first verse opens with a simple yet memorable reverb-soaked, chordal guitar pattern that repeats throughout the piece, whilst a simple, filtered drum beat lays the rhythmic foundations for the piece. Building upon these fundamentals, tasteful blues-influenced lead guitar melodies accompany Latouche’s touching and subtle lyrical stanzas that lead throughout the progression of the song. Following the second chorus of the track, the band leads in with a moving and powerful third verse before refraining back to the sullen simplicity that starts the piece.
The seventh and final track, Alive finishes “Pilot” on a strong and convincing note containing heavily syncopated rhythmic grooves, layered harmony vocals, and a striking chorus marked by a sense of desperation and existential wonder that laces throughout the piece. As a closing track, Alive proves a fitting choice in summarising all of the musical and lyrical themes of the EP into a concise and solid closure.
In conclusion, Oh/Villain has successfully crafted an impressive and outstanding debut EP that is sure to spark much anticipation and excitement within the Australian hardcore underground, in hopes of a bright and prolific future for these avid and lively Sydney-siders.
“Pilot” is out June 30. Pre-order your copy on Google Play and iTunes via hyperurl.co/preacher