Ominous Eclipse – Sinister Review

Band: Ominous Eclipse
Album: Sinister
Label: Self-Release
Genre: Death Metal
Country: Canada
Release Date: September 14, 2018

Sophomore albums can be weird when it comes to describing a bands sound. On the one hand, the fact that a band has gotten to this stage means that they have had time to mature to the point where band members are comfortable with each other and the songwriting process. On the other however, sophomore albums tend to “make or break” a band. Was their previous effort just a fluke? Will they expand and evolve their sound and if so, how much? The bands previous release, “End of Days” was fast and ferocious. No room to breathe 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds but very little change in tone. It was because of this that I was pleasantly surprised with the new direction they seem to be taken.

Now, this does not mean that they have fundamentally changed their sound. This is still some top notch death metal but there is a wide variation of sound with “Sinister”. The first song, ‘Death by Dissection’ is a relatively standard death metal song but with a few twists. Black metal riffs are snuck in between blistering blast beats and crushing riffs that are sometimes used to accentuate the vocal delivery. I sort of expected the song to go a different route based on Ominous Eclipses’ previous music but this is just one of many examples of the surprises that can be found in this album.

The album continues on to the second track and one of the band’s three singles, ‘Sinister’. I’ve tried very hard to find the right combination of words to describe this song so here is my best attempt. Fucking hell (can I curse on my reviews?), this has to be one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard. This song is riff upon riff of mosh worthy aggression. Although the band can get technical as demonstrated by the sweeping solos on this song, they know when to avoid being technical for its own sake and focus developing the song and just having a good time. The same can be said for the the third song on the album, and second single, ‘Spiral Into Insanity’. The Cannibal Corpse and Revocation sound is strong with this band. Low guttural growls harmonize with more hardocre vocals which go hand in hand with the pummelling riffs in the background. 15 minutes into the album, where has the time gone?

After the first three songs, the band decides to let the listener breathe with a clean guitar riff that sets the mood for ‘Lost at Sea’. This is where a major shift in tone occurs. The band suddenly shifts from a straightforward death metal sound for something more melodic. At certain points in this song, I felt like I was listening to Amon Amarth or Insomnium. Much like the imagery painted by the lyrics, I felt like I was on my way to conquer some distant land and not even a hurricane could stop me. This shift in tone continues with ‘No Redemption for the Damned’. Melodic riffs harmonize between the two guitars as the song continues to build up in intensity and eventually crescendos with the line “No, it’s too late for that now!” leading into some of the most cathartic riffs in the album.

At this point, the band decides to settle for somewhere in between the death metal and melodic sound of they had going on during the first couple of songs of the albums. ‘Breaking the Chains’ and ‘The Horde’ continue to showcase the strengths of this band. Pummelling riffs, technical soloing, growls that run the gamut from low and guttural to more traditional all while maintaining clear enunciation. All this leads the way to the album closer ‘Eye of the Raven’, one of the strongest album closers I have heard in a long time. Starting with a single, low gain, guitar riff and eventually growing in sound to some of the best riffs this album has to offer and a guitar solo that ends the album on a high note.

I’ve tried hard to find areas of improvement with this album. However, I have to say that aside from minor improvements in album production and sound quality, this is a near perfect album. The band opts to write less songs for the album but also decides to take the time to develop the ideas presented in them. The music is technical, but not overbearing; it is fast but there are a lot of moments throughout the album where the music is allowed to breathe to convey more than just one feeling or mood. The music is infectious, catchy and would definitely sound amazing in a live setting. I think this change in sound really benefits the band. They are very cohesive and they can play a wide array of music. They wear their influences on their sleeves but never do they imitate. I am very grateful that I was allowed to review this album.

Rating: 9/10

Stand out Tracks:
Spiral Into Insanity
Breaking the Chains

1. Death By Dissection
2. Sinister
3. Spiral Into Insanity
4. Lost at Sea
5. No Redemption for the Damned
6. Breaking the Chains
7. The Horde
8. Eye of the Rave

Total Playing Time: 50:17

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