Omega Diatribe – Abstract Ritual (Hungary, 2015)

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Sincerest apologies to the members of Omega Diatribe if they tire of being compared to a certain band, but it really can’t be helped.  Don’t make the mistake of lumping them in with the legions of expendable “djent” bands, however – they actually sound remarkably similar to Meshuggah themselves, and that is as much a compliment to their rock-solid execution as it is an indictment of their deficit in originality.

The short and sweet Abstract Ritual EP follows a formula heavily patterned on the modern Meshuggah sound.  Angular, downtuned guitar riffs gather in unison with huge basslines to commune with precise drumbeats at midpace tempos while droning octave leads embellish with sharp intensity.  Production-wise, the music sounds especially familiar, with the massive-sounding, coarsely distorted guitars punching with a deep clarity and the bass taking on a machine-like snarl. The only area in this department where they show any immediate sign of deviation is the vocals. The vocalist shows that he is well-nigh capable of nailing harsh yells à la Jens Kidman, but also tends to give everything a whiny tinge befitting of certain strains of metalcore – something akin to an overgrown child throwing a stunningly monstrous fit.  A definite faux pas in my book, but thankfully this vocal style does not dominate the record enough to ruin the party for everyone else.

A deeper listen will reveal the band’s predilection for tempering odd riff lengths and less common time signatures with a more forgiving songwriting spirit.  The result is a collection of catchy songs that indulge the listener with a seamless mix of just-nearly-dizzying patterns and less convoluted 4/4 grooves.  This does mean there are less opportunities for the listener to find that profound high which comes from figuring out and locking in with those diabolically unnatural riffs and beats, but the songs are so well-written and concise that between the induced headbanging and toe-tapping, you will hardly find time to complain.

There is a fun little electronic remix of one of the tracks at the end of the EP on their Bandcamp page, giving hints as to Omega Diatribe’s unique character.  Despite the slight dubstep feel that would probably turn off most metalheads, the song is surprisingly not bad.  Assuming that this remix was in fact made out of some genuine interest and fun (and not just as a cheesy joke), it’s a shame that they didn’t try to experiment with some subtle electronic elements on the actual songs to set themselves apart a bit.

It would be natural to summarize Omega Diatribe on this EP as “Meshuggah-lite,” but the negative connotations would be undeserved.  They are simply more interested in good ol’ groove than mind-bending machination, and they do a damned fine job striking an enjoyable balance.

Tracklist:
1. Subsequent Phase
2. Extrinsic
3. Hydrozoan Periods
4. Abstract Ritual
5. The Quantum
6. Unshadowed Days (Perception Remix)
7. Hydrozoan Periods (Glass Medusa Remix)

Label: Independent Ear Records
Websites: Facebook | Bandcamp |Website
Release Date: 11th September 2015
Reviewed by Justin

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