Omnihility - Deathscapes of the Subconscious - (6.5/10)
Published on July 23, 2014
In 1939 Dorothy Gale famously quipped, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” which is a curious but fitting sentiment that Omnihility’s latest album, Deathscapes of the Subconscious, leaves with any listener familiar with Topeka-based Origin. Pulling the curtain from the initial blasting that Omnihility engages the listener with reveals a guise that is only superficial in its ferocity, as it attempts to convey a presence of something equal to what it aspires to be. While it is certainly no crime to play to the tune of your inspirations it’s a good idea to be aware that your limitations will be all the more obvious and the comparisons therefore routinely applied.
To be fair, even if in yet another alternate universe Origin never existed, Omnihility would still be at a slight disadvantage because even though they strive to create a very industrious type of brutal/technical death metal the band has unfortunately constructed very few peaks to counter the mostly underwhelming (i.e. redundant) valleys. Tracks such as “Deathscapes of the Subconscious” feature mostly the same type of ultra brutal licks wrapped in barbed wire and shoved down your throat without any lube and it gets downright boring very quickly, even if the band on occasion inserts some good ole’ OSDM tremolo lines into the mix or even a touch of melody in “Disseminate,” for example.
Some Suffocation style riffing sneaks its way in as well, such as on the superbly opened “The Unnamable,” and there are even a few interesting guitar effects that add eye-opening appeal to an album that by this point (six tracks in) has been a lesson in abject sameness. It is indeed a classic case of “too little, too late,” and the pill doesn’t get any easier to swallow with the mixing. Steve Crum’s performance on drums is nothing short of excellent but his rapid fire snare is pretty much the only thing I heard the first few listens until I was able to zone it out effectively.
Ironic, really, that the drumming would stand out so prominently and even more so when one realizes it’s the only highlight on an album that is otherwise quite flat in its fretwork. Not that the technical proficiency of Dan the Impaler is in question either; rather, he is impressively skilled at his instrument but it’s the songwriting that sits in the witness stand with all fingers pointing on its negligence in not making the album a more engaging product. It does seem like a waste of talent, or a misguided effort, but it’s a lesson that sometimes needs to be learned the hard way on a band’s road to greater heights, and whether that road happens to be paved in yellow bricks is a contemplation for another album.