Review: Omega Diatribe, Abstract Ritual (Self-Released, 2015)

Abstract Ritual is the new EP from Budapest, Hungary's Omega Diatribe—following their 2013 full-length debut—and features drummer extraordinaire Kevin Talley lending his talents. Expect about 27 minutes of burly, detuned, groove-centric, and djent-tinged metal that really hits the spot.

"Subsequent Phase" lays the foundation right away using loads of (at times borderline sludgy) groove-laden riffs and tactfully staccato rhythms with abstract, textural lead lines layered in; while the vocals tend towards a strained, seething yell that occasionally transitions into more of a half-spoken format.

"Extrinsic" follows, taking a somewhat more straightforward approach, before "Hydrozoan Periods" draws additional attention to the group's use of inconspicuous methods of messing with the time signatures of their arrangements in a way that's often just a bit more fucked up than it seems. And the title track sort of walks between both worlds—at times simple, at times off-kilter, and presenting slightly more melodic soloing. "The Quantum" is essentially an instrumental of stripped down clean passages with light dashes of melodic synth drones and subtle industrial flourishes, of which the centerpiece is a sample of zany philosopher Terence McKenna on shamanism as trans-dimensional travel. They close out with "Unshadowed Days (Perception Remix)," a revisitation of a track from their debut album, Iapetus, twice as long as the original (and despite the use of the term "remix," it really just feels like an alternate recording of the piece with an extended instrumental outro).

The production sounds damn nice to me, and feels fairly "simple" in a way. It's surprisingly clear and offers plenty of breathing room despite its density. There's not much separation between the guitars and bass, so there's a bit of a gap between the guitars/vocals and the percussion, but I like that it doesn't feel as though they went overboard with layering or trying to be super heavy—everything just fits, and works very well for this style.

The aforementioned McKenna sample in some ways adds another layer of intrigue to the lyrics: are we witnessing an alien abduction, a psychedelic haze-induced hallucinogenic journey, or both? Or something else entirely? You be the judge:

Is it a continuation, or just everything starts from the beginning? Memories live in me about the future, or it's just a paradoxical state-dependent associative phenomenon? I feel both simultaneously on my plane of existence...

Not being terribly familiar with much from this realm, Omega Diatribe doesn't immediately bring to mind any other bands, which is probably a good sign. I'm really looking forward to hearing more, and would already cite them as a favorite from this swath of modern extreme metal. An excellent EP: the blunt heaviness sucks you in, the creativity and quality keep you engaged. Hell, I'd probably even go so far as to say that this will be a likely contender for one of the best of 2015 in my book.

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