Aiming to be a landmark band in the stream of “hybrid metal” stemming from New Wave of Canadian Metal, Ottawa based Ominous Eclipse ambitions to blend varying metal styles is displayed in full force on their sophomore album Sinister. Featuring 8 tracks, the band uses every opportunity to showcase their genre-defying sound. To further their complexity the band set out to have every song to be a host of different meanings. A bold move, but Splice brings a review to see if they live up to what they promised!
To kick off their album, the band presents the listener with an orchestral opening on “Death by Dissection.” Quite quickly the band transitions into playing a six long minute epic that seems to have a lot going on. This makes it difficult to discern the meaning and purpose of the song, potentially causing disinterest since it appears to be all over the place. Living up to the song’s namesake, it really does take a dissection via repetitive listens to gain any insight into this track’s purpose. Despite this, the track is an interesting endeavor that compels a further listen to the rest of the album.
Following “Death by Dissection,” is the title track “Sinister.” It is no wonder why this is track was chosen to be one of their promoted singles. Featuring a powerful in your face opening, the band delivered a compelling sound, featuring crisp drums that incite the listener to eagerly headbang along as the song progresses. “Sinister” is an excellent thrash inspired tune that will definitely get the pits going.
Continuing the trend of heavy riffing and pit inducing metal, “Spiral into Insanity” is another heavy hitter of a track. Opting to go with a death metal inspired structure, Ominous Eclipse blends some black metal and thrash into the mix. The band lands another heavy hitting home run with this one, as “Spiral into Insanity” is a track that fully displays the band’s prowess with blending aggressive drums with thrash and yet still melodic guitar work. It is also one of the band’s shorter tracks, clocking in at 4 minutes and 16 seconds, hinting that the band can do more with less.
Choosing to fool the listener with a slower intro, the band’s longest track, “Lost at Sea,” is reminiscent of Amon Amarth with its melodic ballad of an opening. When the song begins to pick up speed, Ominous Eclipse stands out choosing to leave the melodic guitar work behind for something with more grit. Yet, despite the longevity of the piece, the track feels as though it flies by with its impressive and captivating instrumental work. The vocals inspire inclinations to sing – along, a track which will work well live.
Following “Lost At Sea,” the band delivers “No Redemption For the Damned,” a fierce track that keeps the album moving along. The vocals on the track are the standout element, as they rise above the riffing and drums to really pull the song together.
As the album nears completion, “Breaking the Chains” is the peak of aggression, blending all the band’s elements into a ferocious beast of a track. It is a whirlwind of temper, truly exemplifying its namesake. As it progresses in its momentum, Ominous Eclipse’s demonstrates their ability to build anticipation in the listener, resulting in a captivating experience.
As its name suggests, “The Horde” feels like an onslaught of musical ability being thrown at the listener. Progressively layering their abilities, the track envelopes the listener in genre-defying metal. With vocals pacing back and forth between lows and suffocating highs, “The Horde” is an auditory experience in both its vocals and instrumentals exemplifying what a battle for your life should sound like.
For the final track, “Eye of The Raven” opens with some entrancing guitar work. It slowly layers it to build anticipation and excitement in the listener (great for running!) before tearing into a commendable finale of a performance. With their talent fully on display, Ominous Eclipse end on a high note that persuades to start the album over again.
While the album may have started off slow, Ominous Eclipse succeeded in what they set out to do. Demonstrating their ability to blend genres within metal to create a compelling album, this is an impressive sophomore delivery. Each track brings something different and feels refreshing even after multiple listens.
Sinister is out on September 14th, and if you’re in town the band will be hosting a CD release for it on October 6th at House of Targ.