When I was about 12 years old, I remember that I used to get home as fast as I can so I can find some new bands to listen to, as I had been very intrigued by the likes of Metallica, Trivium and Behemoth. After listening to the upcoming album ‘Sinister’ by Ominous Eclipse, it took me back to the day I first heard Are You Dead Yet by Children of Bodom and What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse by The Black Dahlia Murder, which got me really curious.
I’m not going to lie and say I was blown away by the Ottawa based quartet upon my first listen of ‘Sinister’, but as with most Death Metal albums, it’s not an album you listen to once, and it never gets to see the light of day again. This reason in particular is why I’m such an avid Death Metal fan; Death Metal albums need to be listened to, in full, a few times in order to truly appreciate the technicality, artistry and chemistry, and Ominous Eclipse have proven that with their upcoming Sophomore release.
Beginning the album with Death by Dissection, the promising quartet show that their talents are not to be wasted, with fast paced and clean drumming, punishing guitar riffs and octave harmonies, giving off the impression that Death were a band they definitely grew up with and took major inspiration from. Vocalist Graham Murphy’s performance throughout “Sinister” and Death by Dissection is absolutely ruthless, and are a major standout in this album. Although the vocals he performs are heard quite frequently in the Death Metal genre, the way he experiments with his range, going from Alexi Laiho style highs, to lows reminiscent of Seth Siro Anton from Septicflesh is very impressive from a local death metal band of their stature.
Continuing the album with the title track Sinister, Murphy’s lyrics delve into the selfishness and evil of humanity, exclaiming that we’re “blinded by ignorance”, which was great to read as it’s rare to find lyricists these days that are able to touch on the personal and moral issues of humanity, with the first band coming to mind being Gojira; which is really awesome, especially since this song reminds me a lot of Backbone and the entire “From Mars to Sirius” album.
A main standout from this album, personally, is definitely the solo’s, melodies and the chemistry that guitarists Murphy and James Close have together. From soft melodies (as soft as you can be in Death Metal) in the verses of No Redemption for the Damned, to demented, aggressive and violent melodies that they use in Sinister (title track), to insane, dark and techy riffs in The Horde, Murphy and Close show that being technically proficient and fast doesn’t always make for great music, but can also implement a great variety of technicality, melody and pace where its necessary.
However, “Sinister” doesn’t come without its flaws, with the biggest standout for me being the production for the record. Although “Sinister” is a very well thought out album and shows that the band has potential to do great things, throughout the album you occasionally hear the feedback from the amps if there’s a rest note for the guitars (See Sinister, the title track, 4:04). I’m not sure if it was completely intended to be left in there or not, but it’s not my cup of tea personally.
Another flaw which has bothered me in the past with some bands, is to give the bassist some room in the mix and make it more prominent! It’s not fair to say that I can’t hear the bass, because I can, I just wish for a world where bassists have their own little action instead of constantly following the root note.
While flawed, Sinister by Ominous Eclipse delivers a raw, refreshed and refined take on Death Metal, and have the potential to finalize their own sound and create something fantastic. For a local band of their stature though, the Quartet have me impressed, and if they continue to experiment with their demented harmonies, INSANE riffs and lyrical content, in a few short years they’ll be touring with bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder and Revocation.