Thursday, March 3, 2011

Omision - In the Shadow of the Cross (2011)

Omision are a long-time death metal band based out of Tijuana and Southern California that were formed in the early 90s, but only recently have gotten their shit together to produce some demos and their full-length debut, In the Shadow of the Cross. A number of the members have played in US acts like Incantation and Sadistic Intent, and half the lineup also doubles in another Mexican death outfit, Infinitum Obscure, so they're all fairly experienced for the field, and it shows in the decision to bypass the technicality and crass, spastic flatulence of modern death and make a direct line to the old school sounds of Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Incantation, Death and other acts of the early 90s. The songs and atmosphere always come first here, and even though there are few that stand out to memory, at least they're not jumping on the Swedish or excess cavernous bandwagons that are trending today in the genre.

Most of the guitars are straight up old 90s death metal, anchored by Heriberto Perez' blunt gutturals that remind me somewhat of Dave Ingram from Benediction or Karl Willetts. But the writing is so simplistic that it adds even more pressure to the actual riffs to deliver, and I'm not sure they always do. The band incorporates a lot of dynamics here, from the thick, death/doom awnings of "Wont' Be Saved" to the frantic leads that cut through "Your God", but occasionally the songs feel rather piecemeal as they transition from one piece to the next. Others, like "Assault in the Vatican" flirt with a more memorable quality, tight riffing and flourishes of the acoustic guitars to highlight the slower guitars, or "Pray" which opens with ominous chanting and then cycles through a burst of Morbid Angel style blast and some trudging chords reminiscent of a Death or Obituary breakdown. A piece like "Seeking the Holy Throne" doesn't get much purer, just straight up diabolic low end grooving death, but it still leaves something to be desired.

Omision have done well to craft a consistent, gloomy environment here by using the clean guitars, bells, samples, and other nightmare effects. The album creates a very tangible darkness through which the soul can very easily get lost in nostalgia. It's pure, authentic death and anyone craving for a time warp to clip 20 years off his/her life might find some solace here, yet In the Shadow of the Cross just doesn't have the timelessness of composition to stride alongside the works it so admires from the period. Solid execution, a clean and earthen mix, and varying dynamics simply don't win out over the lack of engaging songs, and it's not much of a grower, but neither is it bad.

Verdict: Indifference [6.25/10]

No comments: