Halmyris - Omens of Domination - (7.5/10)
Published on October 15, 2014
Genre:Melodic Death / Folk
Formed in 2013, Halmyris is a six piece Romanian melodic death metal band who released their debut EP, Omens of Domination, in the fall of 2014. The band takes a rather standard melo death template and incorporates a few folk-laden melodies, keyboards and the occasional chant, to give a little rustic charm. Wearing their influences quite proudly on their collective sleeves, the band storms through their four song debut in quick fashion, but not without leaving a trail of memorable hooks and nostalgic riffing.
Omens of Domination offers quite a bit of diversity, despite the brevity of the release. All of the staple of melodic death metal are displayed in fine form; galloping riffing, syncopated harmonies, confident lead guitars and double bass runs. Melodic death metal has been done by thousands upon thousands of bands, leaving little room for creativity, but Halmyris takes a stab at their own thing. It’s evident that bands like Kalmah, Insomnium are the main inspirational fodder, but one can also detect a trace of Ensiferum and Equilibrium lurking within.
The guitarists, Doru Stiubei and Andrei Herdes, clearly have their chops, as the galloping rhythms and rampant lead work is solid, albeit a tad generic at times, like the Clayman era In Flames riffing on “Malevolence”. Where these two really show their clout is during the sporadic offshoots they nestle into, such as the frenetic trem picking along side a classy, progressive tinged solo during “Canvas” and the hook-laden, modernized sound during “NFP”. Rather than the typical Gothenburg scream, the vocals are deeper growls, sounding similar to Kalmah and the like. The rhythm section moves things along nicely, although the drum work could stand to be polished’ the cymbals, in particular, are choppy at times and have tendency to drown out the subtleties of the rest of the band. Taking this base, the band adds a good portion of atmospheric keyboards a few slightly campy folk melodies, which the guitars do pull off nicely.
Omens of Domination is a pretty decent debut, even if the band seems to force the folk inspirations; much like the chanting oohs and aahs during “Canvas”. With the diversity presented, it would seem that Halmyris is poised to create a varied and inspired long player, but time will tell. With a solid duo handling guitars, a must in melo death, Halmyris certainly has the chops required for the genre. Perhaps with a more honed in approach the band could be destructive in all the right ways. Campy and forced folk melodies aside, this is a solid debut and one worth checking out if you dig the sounds of Insomnium and Kalmah.