May 012014
 

Omen KingCombine an unreadable band logo and disturbing imagery and just from the looks you can guess this album may contain some frightening content, even going into it knowing the band members are Christian doesn’t help lessen the apprehension.  Then again the band’s name, once translated from the death metal alphabet, does have that warm, fuzzy appeal to it…Abated Mass of Flesh.  Cuddly for sure.  Ok, this is about as far from cuddly, charming, easy listening music as you can get.  Cacophonous, caustic, and vociferous are all terms the band uses to describe their sound and those certainly are accurate if not quite strong enough, but I do disagree with their choice of the term noisy.  Noisy to me implies something negative, poor quality, lacking organization or structure and that does not fit the sounds.  There is beauty in the chaos, power in the skull-crushing heaviness.

Zack Plunkett started this chaos as a solo project in the summer of 2011 and released the ep, Moth and Rust in the Temple of Putridity and then followed that up with the Brutal Death ep, this time adding brother Matthew to take on lead vocals and Kade Dodson on drums during 2012.  Following these two ep’s were two more, The Anatomy of Impurity and Deathcrusher.  The Omen King marks a departure from the trend of releasing ep’s and is the band’s first full length.

As if the imagery wasn’t creepy enough, The Omen King starts out with “New Creation”, a short intro track that instantly brings to mind some dirty, run-down, dark factory setting complete with some low-fi recording and metal on metal clanging.  This is slasher film horror movie material for sure.  “Gather in Strength” is the first real song on the album and the abrupt change from the lo-fi of “New Creation” to the deep, pummeling, grinding of “Gather in Strength” is enough to force one to take a deep breath in shock.  Guttural unintelligible growls provide a vocal backdrop while some unintelligible black metal shrieks come into the forefront before trading off back and forth.  These are literally the sounds of vocal chords shredding and possibly some feral animals squealing and howling.  Guitars start out plodding and then speed up into a faster riff for the verse sections.  Wait verse sections?  Who am I kidding?  I can’t really tell.  What I really appreciate in the song is the alternating between the faster riffs that almost bring some melody into play and the slower, plodding, grinding parts of the song, and then the last progressive tempo change in the ending part of the song really help carry this along and keep it listenable.

Heaviness continues in “Saul I am Final”, which is starts out somewhat slow and more like one might expect from traditional extreme death metal, but then the guitars go into a machine gun-like riffing before completely stopping and then starting up again with the riffing but again with hint of melody, aspects to the sound I wasn’t expecting.

“Mouth of the Tomb” changes things up a bit for the intro before settling into some the slower crushing riffs that characterize many of the songs on the album.  “The Killer in Me” starts off with vocals and the mid-tempo locomotive crushing riffs from the beginning, in this case employing the lower, guttural vocals exclusively for the beginning of the song.  Around the 45 second mark, the song abruptly stops and then starts up again, this time faster with low guttural and higher shrieking vocals both coming into play.  This song also showcases  some of the restrained drumming found throughout the songs on the album but also has some breaks from that, almost like in certain sections the restraints have come off and it’s time to go full out.  That contrast is interesting as you find yourself anticipating it, waiting for that chance to go crazy.

“Rise from Hell” starts out with some painful guitar chords playing over and over and actually features intelligible spoken vocals for parts of the song and a driving, crunching, bone-breaking slow guitar riff over the top of everything.  The shrieking vocals take over for most of the song and there is a sense of peace when the painful guitar chords in the background finally fade out.

The title track, “The Omen King” starts out with a very atmospheric setting complete with keyboards, and a drum beat in the background that sounds as if it could be from some movie about medieval times and this song serves as a rest before the album finishes with “Vital Extrication”, a song as brutal as anything else on the album and possibly more pain-inducing with its piercing guitar and tempo changes and driving drums and guitar.

This is one of those albums that leave you exhausted at the end.  Despite clocking in at 22 minutes, the serving size is plenty large.  The first few times I listened to the album, I had no idea it was only 22 minutes because it is tough to listen to and as happens in this genre, some of the songs tend to sound very similar, so I hadn’t realized I was going back through the album.  Those looking for something extreme will find it here and I highly recommend driving around with this blasting and your car windows down.   Maybe even stopping to get gas and keeping this playing at full volume with windows down and door open.  The looks you’ll get will be priceless and entertaining, possibly even leading to some great conversations.  So often, this genre ends up just being painful noise, but AMoF have managed to inject some (gasp) melody and structure and almost groove at times into some of the songs, helping this album stand out from others.  The Omen King reminds me of the toughest shows in the pit where you’re having the time of your life but inside you can’t help but hope the band stops playing soon before you crumple into a ball of flesh, maybe even an Abated Mass of Flesh.

Rating: 7/10

Written by John Jackson

Tracklist:
1. New Creation
2. Gather in Strength
3. Saul I am Final
4. Iniquitous Decimation
5. Mouth of the Tomb
6. The Killer in Me
7. Rise from Hell
8. Deadland
9. The Omen King
10. Vital Extrication

Band Members:
Matthew Plunkett – Vocals
Kade Dodson – Drums
Max Tubville – Bass
Zack Plunkett – Guitars

Discography:
Skin Stripped Away (2011)
Moth and Rust in the Temple of Putridity (2011)
Brutal Death ÉP (2012)
The Anatomy Of Impurity EP (2013) [review]
The Omen King [2014]

Record Label: Rottweiler Records, June 2014

Weblinks: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
Holland: 
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: 
Metal Helm

Video below “The Omen King” Album teaser

Video below ‘Gather in Strength’

 

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