Lich King - The Omniclasm - (8.5/10)
Published on May 3, 2017
Here they are again – the kings of ‘we don’t give a fuck’ metal. For over a decade, the Massachusetts thrashers of Lich King have been defying public opinion, lampooning the self-righteous, and generally snapping necks with their furious brand of retro thrash metal. Of the many acts which sprung up during the thrash revival of the late ’00s, this quintet seem to have carved their own niche – mainly due to their attitude and hilarious social media presence. Whilst the musical quality of their output has varied, one cannot deny the steady upward climb in standard – culminating here in 2017 with The Omniclasm. Frenzied riffs, shredding solos, gang shout vocals, and a healthy dose of humour – the King is back, and is very much of the Lich variety.
Crashing through the speakers comes the instrumental opener “Weapons Hot” – and one thing becomes obvious: the production quality is spot on. The riffs are the primary focus (as they should be), the drums are beautifully metallic without being over-compressed, and the bass is constantly audible. It’s safe to say, this is the best the band have ever sounded on disc. This is also the best performance from the voice of the Lich, Tom Martin. On The Omniclasm he’s putting in a lot of effort to be decipherable, and as a result, sounds like he really means business. He verges on full-on screams on occasion – especially in the chorus for “Cut The Shit”. From a Lich King album, you can always expect a lyrical treasure trove of hilarity – as exhibited by the relatable “Preschool Cesspool”, and most obviously “Crossover Songs Are Too Damn Short”. For example…
“What is the issue? Where is the fire?
Are you dying to open the keg?
Is it that you just can’t wait to stop playing?
Is your songwriter cooking an egg?”
Throughout their past releases, Lich King have had a running sequel of self-titled tracks (much like Overkill). Here we have “Lich King V: Stalemate” and “Lich King VI: The Omniclasm”. Whilst I desperately want to pick up on recurring themes running through all these segments, I simply can’t – and I hope it’s just me being stupid, because it would be a big missed opportunity if the band had overlooked the idea. These are a great pair of tracks in their own right anyway – a great variety of riff types, an interesting structure and a relentless drive. The standout track has to be the beastly “Civilized”. With its doom-laden crunch and extensive framework, it’s the perfect mix of Anthrax’s “Keep It In The Family” and Overkill’s “Skullkrusher” – groove intact! There’s even a remarkable bass feature towards the end – climaxing in the greatest riff on the album. If you hear nothing else – buy/download/steal this track.
I applaud Lich King for their variety. Thrash is a sub-genre easy to slip into stagnation. But after the furious blasts of the opening few tracks, the ironically short burst of “Crossover Songs Are Too Damn Short”, followed by the lengthier “Take The Paycheck” and “Civilized” makes for a dynamically interesting audio journey. It’s hard to disparage an album by a band who are well-renowned for not giving a shit. Initially, I thought if I tore this album apart, hopefully the band would parody me on social media or something – unfortunately, the unbridled thrash contained within is of too high a standard! Considering this is their sixth LP, I think it’s ironic that this is the one that finally sees them reach the quality they deserve – let me refer you to the lyrics of “Take The Paycheck”: ‘What is the magic number? Is five solid albums enough?’.