I was recently craving some amazing progressive metal. I blame Devin Townsend for this because “Empath” is so amazing that I was in withdraw afterwards. I stumbled upon a new release from newer band Omnerod, and it has really been scratching the itch, if you know what I mean. The album is called “Arteries”, and it released on May 30th.
Omnerod comes from Belgium. For the sound of this album, you’d think there would be several members. That is not the case, though. The band includes Romain Jeuniaux on vocals and guitars, and Pablo Schwilden Diaz on drums. You will also hear Anthony Deneyer on vocals and Thomas Clément on bass.
There are two major reasons why I’ve been drawn to this album. First of all, the music here is a dark flavor of progressive metal that almost borders on post metal sometimes. The band really mixes up the song structures and the typical use of the riff, and so the album comes across as varied, dynamic, and well-conceived. Even though they don’t sound like Pain of Salvation, I am constantly reminded of that band because of the vibrant and creative uses of the metal sound. Other touchstones like that would be Leprous, Devin Townsend, and early Opeth, though they don’t really sound exactly like any of them. The music is definitely pretty technical at times, but the band really knows how to balance that with pure melody or unnerving and even slightly off key reflections.
The second reason would be the vocalist. Romain uses both clean and harsh vox, with the balance tipping towards clean, especially in the second half. I’m not sure why, but his tone and even the overall tone of the music in general reminds me of Devon Graves from Dead Soul Tribe (one reason I’ve been talking about DST lately). It’s not an exact match, but the lower range crooning, the spectral or even ghostly vibes, and the dark muttering all remind me of that project, and I absolutely love it.
“Arteries” flows really well and has plenty for progressive music fans to digest. I really like “Lines”, the wonderful instrumental opener with some huge meaty riffs separating out some dark musings, and also “Guide Them”, where we first hear vocals, and it feels awash with nightfall and crazy time signatures. Again, I really get the Dead Soul Tribe vibe here, especially in the eerie second half.
Others songs are worth noting, too. “Newt” is a quirky little transitional track that almost feels straight out of a dark carnival. “Nothing Was Vain” is shadowy and groovy in splendid fashion. “Sleep” is a grand, fourteen-minute ending for the album. It transitions several times between haunting vocal musings and riff-heavy instrumentals. The last half fades into gentle and peaceful harmony.
My two favorites are “Ascaris” and “Velvet Hooks”, though. “Ascaris” feels surreal and dimly beautiful. Romain’s voice might be the richest here, and the melodies just feel complete and hauntingly familiar. Now, “Velvet Hooks” is destined to become one of my favorite songs of 2019. It really brings the Dead Soul Tribe vibes with its pale and shadowy vocal musings. It is more abstract in tone, but feels very satisfying. It takes its time, too, not rushing the phantom melodies, but allows them to finish naturally and spaciously.
In the end, “Arteries” feels simultaneously soul-crushing and also darkly addictive. It isn’t doom metal amounts of melancholy, but it feels graven and groovy. I cannot help but keep listening to it, especially for the huge riffs and the amazing vocals. I hope you will find this album just as satisfying as I have.