All bands evolve. Even the ones like Motorhead and AC/DC that some poke fun at for ‘making the same record’ really don’t ever make the same record. Some bands just evolve quicker than others and the musical shifts from one record to the next are slightly more pronounced than others. But if done right, with musical integrity and collective artist vision still intact a jarring shift in musical style can be a refreshing take on a band’s sound. Such is the newest release from Houston’s Omotai.
Omotai has always been a band that prides themselves on taking all the best elements from their collective influences and brewing them together into a unique and profound musical concoction. They’ve built quite a decent following off of appealing to people scattered all over the heavy music map. Their newest effort, Fresh Hell, doesn’t change that. In fact, if anything it will add to the band’s legacy for their ability to craft quality songs out of seemingly spare parts. Picture, if you will, a collective of mad scientists entering a junkyard, pilfering all the best scrap metal, and building this mammoth robot that’s hell bent on annihilating everything in it’s path and you’ve got a decent idea of what Omotai has done on this album.
Album opener, “Get Your Dead Straight”, sets the tone with an absolutely crushing wall of dirty guitars, rumbling bass and rhythmic drums. It’s a sludge-fueled call to arms; a readying for battle as Omotai prepare for complete and total destruction. The entire album though takes a more discordant approach than previous efforts. Tracks like “Giant Pygmy”, for example, call to mind varying levels of noise rock from Unsane to Fugazi to Shellac. Almost completely gone though from this album is the blasting fury that permeated 2012’s Terrestrial Grief album. But fear not, fans of the heavy. Instead Omotai are content to punish listeners with a more enveloping weightiness that groans and plods and bursts like a celestial body going through it’s dying dance, wiping out everything that happens to loop into the same orbit.
As mentioned Omotai’s newest effort will appeal to a wide swath of metal fans. Sludge, doom, noise, stoner/psych rock, there’s a lot going on in these seven tracks and it’s all deliciously crafted. Fresh Hell is officially out on February 18 via The Treaty Oak Collective/The Path less Traveled. You can preview the full album at the Omotai Bandcamp page.