When recently reviewing the excellent From Israhell With Love compilation, a release which highlighted the strength and diversity of metal bands coming out of Israel, one band stood out over what was an impressive line-up of bands and songs. The band was Onoma, a Tel Aviv based alternative metal quartet whose track Bug was an instant addiction with its vibrant and fresh sound, ideas, and energy. Their contribution ensured the need to hear more and the opportunity came when guitarist Asaf Keidan from the band approached The RR for a review of their album. Obviously being professional we deliberated and thought about the offer…for all the time it took to type yes please… and what emerged was an album which excited and thrilled like so few other releases have in recent months. All Things Change is outstanding, an album which took no time in entrenching itself in the imagination and heart.
Onoma, the Greek word for ‘Name’, were formed in 2007 by Keidan, vocalist Elad Koren, and drummer Saggi Chen. Early demo recordings during the first couple of years led to songs like My Drug, Twisted, and the aforementioned Bug, gaining strong attention and praise across the internet and web radio whilst the next two years saw not only an ever increasing interest and following as the band gigged across Israel, but also the addition of bassist Andrei Aframov (ex-Phantom Pain) to the permanent ranks. Last year the band ventured into the studio to begin the album alongside famed producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, System Of A Down, Skunk Anansie, Deftones) who mixed it and James Murphy (Death, Obituary) who handled the mastering, with the band itself doing the production work. What emerged is a release is quite stunning.
All Things Change is an album which incorporates a multitude of sub metal genres to conjure up distinct brews of alternative and nu-metal driven goodness. The band state their influences as bands like Alice In Chains, Korn, Deftones, and Meshuggah, all clear to hear at times, but their spicery does not stop there as at times the likes of American Head Charge, (Hed) P.E., Watcha, Marilyn Manson, and Scars On Broadway to name a few, shoot through thoughts as the tracks unleash their inventive craft.
The album starts with Lauds, a short track come intro, which heightens the anticipation of what is too come with its chilling ambient and slightly distressed breath. The release is soon into its stride with Dear God and its military welcoming beats and abrasive riffs. Within moments it settles into a tight heated groove and djent toned rhythmic badgering. The vocals of Koren pick and chew at the lyrics delivering them in a Jonathan Davis like style which is as punchy as the jabbing and combative sounds. Once the melodic whispers turn to shouts there is a Drowning Pool like aggression added to further ignite the senses, the track climaxing on a belligerent and compulsive swagger.
The outstanding start is easily matched by the following Cannot Go and Loser Friendly. The first stalks the ear with tempting riffs and intimidating rhythms, its prowl a disruptive pattern of challenging and deeply rewarding invention. The song stomps and musically curses the ear with an angry intensity and deliberate antagonistic air whilst soothing its wounds with melodic enterprise. The second of the two is a heavy and shadowed Deftones like gaited piece of emotive expression. It has its moments charging with incendiary bursts of energy but at its core is an enveloping provocative slab of passionate might which bruises as much as it exhilarates.
The brilliant Bug ensures there is no dip in excellence or power, though all songs ensure the same. It is one of the most additive songs heard in a long time and a track which only takes one listen to become a best friend. The track is a tempest of melodic and discord driven wonder which captivates and riles up the emotions with equal effect. It has the melodic grace of Absolace, the creative imagination of iBURN, and the mischievous invention of System Of A Down, all driven by the spinal corruption of Periphery. Immense is the only word for it, and as you may have guessed we quite like it.
With the magnificent Animal coming at the ear with the same venomous conjuration as Bug, and the great closing pair of Fight Myself and Nothing Right offering a final ferocity and towering mix of melodic intrusion and muscular violation, All Things Change is easily one of the best things heard this year. Earlier this year we declared nu and alternative metal had been revitalised with the ingenuity of the release from Irish band iBURN now Onoma have shown it is truly thriving and more imaginative than ever.
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