Lich King - The OmniclasmI love Lich King. If I had any musical talent, I’d beg them for an audition. I’ve dabbled with the idea of thrash-covering Sheer Heart Attack under the name Lich Queen. I would drive two hours to their Massachusetts headquarters to treat foot-out-the-door vocalist Tom Martin to a steak dinner and twenty minutes of hanky-panky if he agreed to stick around. Something about their brash, satirical thrash drills right into the soul of my metal obsession. The hyperthrash of The Omniclasm preys on all of those heartstrings, obnoxious, hilarious and utterly replayable all the while.

After a brief intro, “Lich King V: Stalemate” digs right into the meat with the latest iteration of our eponymous villain’s serialized conquests. The track keeps it simple: tight, chainsaw riffs played fast and faster, Mike Dreher’s suddenly full-bodied bass clanging with purpose, with just enough room for Martin to do whatever he wants. Riding a punky thrash wave born of Exodus and Vio-lence, the Lich King juggernaut seems impossible to stop once it starts rolling. “Preschool Cesspool” revives Martin’s hysterically true-to-life lyrics, combining the unique misery only children can inflict with whimsical, trampling Municipal Waste riffs. The track highlights how effortlessly Lich King can forge a joyful connection that lingers in the subconscious longer than its simplicity would suggest. “Cut the Shit” savagely lambastes metal’s potential for unblinking seriousness, while “Our Time to Riot” pumps Overkill and Slayer into a mosh tribute-turned-class war. The latter features choice solo work from Nick Timney that stacks moments atop moments without feeling overweight. When returning to the track’s central riff, now improbably stuffed with even more speed and venom, there is little doubt that The Omniclasm stands among Lich King’s best work.

Of particular note is how well Timney and Joe Nickerson match the mood of their riffs to the lyrics. “Preschool Cesspool” teases by nature, while “Cut the Shit” and “Our Time to Riot” are dutifully pissed off. It’s hard to listen to “Take the Paycheck” without feeling the mockery reverberating from their guitar strings. Drummer Brian Westbrook’s mix accentuates these characteristics, though his own kit loses its punch as a result. I’ve often thought Lich King would benefit from a Gama Bombian vocal clarity, given their focus on humor and messaging. The Omniclasm, unfortunately, changes little in this regard, as its verses can be quite difficult to follow. Track times tick up slightly overall, though the songs are so easy on the ears that the length is rarely apparent. The only weak link comes from downtempo whopper “Civilization.” Despite dalliances with southern rock stylings, this spiritual successor to 2012’s “Agnosticism” crawls more than it cuts. Finale “Lich King VI: The Omniclasm” fortunately provides lengthwise redemption, as seven minutes of face-peeling makes it Lich King’s best closer to date.

Lich King 2017

If the band is in rare form, then Martin is doubly so. Somewhere between the infectious gang shouts of “Cut the Shit,” Martin laments that “metal’s supposed to be fun.” Lich King based their career around rending maximum enjoyment from their work, as if permanently affronted by a community intent on the contrary. Nothing is more characteristic of that than the lyrics. Epithetical jeers of “joke band” and “pizza thrash” still haunt them, and the inclusion of laugh tracks like “Preschool Cesspool” and “Crossover Songs Are Too Damn Short” are unlikely to change that. But Martin deserves just as much credit for capably handling politically-charged sentiments on “Our Time to Riot” and “Offense,” especially in light of recent eye-rollers from Testament, Havok, and others. Even on “joke” tracks, detractors regularly overlook the scathing, understated truths present in Martin’s sardonic lyrics. “Take the Paycheck” might sound ridiculous at first, but who’s going to argue with its criticisms of metal’s upper crust (or its aspirations of Big 4 success)? “When can we stop doing our best… Are five solid albums enough?” bites all the harder when realizing that The Omniclasm is Lich King’s fifth release and they have nowhere near as many fans as, say, Amaranthe.

The Omniclasm won’t change the mind of the sneering curmudgeon who hated Lich King’s previous material. Nothing here is new. But Lich King correctly determined that their shit wasn’t broke, so why fix it? In turn, they’ve been rewarded with an album as riff-laden and deserving of praise as any in the genre. If you’re fond of all things fast and not afraid of a little tongue in their cheek, The Omniclasm will put a little love in your heart.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: music.lichkingmetal.comfacebook.com/LichKingMetal
Releases Worldwide: April 14th, 2017

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    …really?

  • Westpaceagle

    Late April fools? This is the kind of stupid shit that makes thrash look dead. Jeez Louise

    • JohnC

      Are you taking this band seriously?

      • Westpaceagle

        Not really, I am for some fun metal, but these guys sound like shit to me. I get the ‘i still do a Kartman voice from south park trying to be funny’ vibe. It’s not funny, it’s tired and stupid. But that’s just me I guess. Rock on dudes!

    • Silly lyrics or not, this is still better than the majority of thrash released these days.

    • “This is the kind of stupid shit that makes thrash look dead.”

      How so?

      • Westpaceagle

        “The Omniclasm won’t change the mind of the sneering curmudgeon” I am said sneering curmudgeon. Not my taste. I guess it is kind of funny with the whole kids suck shtick- but I am not a fan of that style of thrash, to include Municipal Waste. I like my thrash vicious and blackened, or classic no bullshit. But that’s just me- don’t let me spoil the party

        • “Not my taste” is a far way from “This is the kind of stupid shit that makes thrash look dead.”

          • Westpaceagle

            Sorry mate, I usually try not to rag on music I don’t like. I can only barely appreciate the amount of hard work, time and effort it goes into making creative output. Then having some asshole like me come along and dismiss it is not cool. When it comes down to it I am not into the cartoony deliberately obnoxious brand of thrash. I get it, but its a tired shtick imho. Hey if its just for fun then good on you, don’t let me spoil the party. But personally, I am a Good Mourning Black Friday kind of dude. If I want to laugh I’ll watch a comedy. So yeah, not my taste. Final answer

          • Okay, cool, but just one last thing- we’re not trying to be cartoony or deliberately obnoxious, at all. I’m sorry you take that from the schtick of having silly lyrics now and then, but the music is written to stand on its own as all-out serious thrash. It’s not for everyone, and I get that, but the music is job one.

            Bands that are trying to be funny first should be shot in the face with a bulldozer.

          • Westpaceagle

            Respect. You guys do shred the riffs, for what its worth. Hope you keep doing what you are doing I see people really enjoy it.

          • Dr. Wvrm

            So about that steak dinner ;)

          • Westpaceagle

            Listening to World Gone Dead as I type this…this I can get with. I guess I was under the impression that all your music was silly lyrics. And the Robocop bite is classic. Ok man, you got me….you got me. Rock on

          • Excellent. I really do think a lot of people just write us off for being the Weird Al of thrash without giving the music a try. Our stupid song Black Metal Sucks really helped us with exposure and screwed us with pigeonholing.

            Anyway, I’m glad you dipped in, and I’m extra glad you’re having a good time. Cheers sir!

          • Westpaceagle

            I am a sucker for hyper speed riffs … I put World Gone Dead and Necromantic Maelstrom in my play list so far. Sorry I doubted you Dr. Wvrm!

          • Dr. Wvrm

            I got you bby.

  • Sean Sky

    I hadn’t heard Lich King before but this seems very Municipal Waste / party-thrashy. It’s fun. It’s parody. It has some good riffing and solos. I can’t hate on it.

    • JohnC

      They’re from the town I live in and I wouldn’t choose anyone else to represent it.

      • Sean Sky

        I dated a girl who went to Amherst; she was a fucking whore.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Then there’s that.

          • Sean Sky

            =D

  • Reese Burns

    If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of ThatGuy’s patented Band Picture machine short-circuiting.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I could even smell the burnt electronics…

      • Ah, nothing like the smell of burned electrolyte from blown up capacitors in the morning.

    • Thatguy

      No, no, no. They think they can beat the machine by being clever. The band photometer says ‘not as clever as you think.’

      King Parrot do this style better and they are uglier.

      • Reese Burns

        Oh damn, thanks for reminding me of King Parrot! Been way too long since I listened to them.

  • Love the Vio-Lence shirt on that cartoon dude.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      How ’bout the Thin Lizzy shirt? Kickass!

      • How about Vektor’s ‘Black Future’ shirt? My vote goes for this:)

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          There’s something for everyone. Vektor for the new school, Vio-lence for the old school, Thin Lizzy for the really old school, MOD for the crossover crowd and… what’s that guy on the left wearing?

          • Ta2dlam

            He’s the member too cool to wear a metal band shirt and, I’m just guessing here, but I figure the Thin Lizzy dude is the bassist.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I don’t know if he’s too cool to wear a Metal shirt but he’s definitely too lazy to wear shoes.

          • I found a bigger picture by dragging the picture into Google picture search and was able to read enough for Google to help me once more.

            The band is Lazer/Wulf. Never heard of them. Rather schizo progressive math stuff, or something.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Good eye! Now I wonder if the guy wearing the Lazer/Wulf shirt actually is IN Lazer/Wulf.

          • Name’s Dalton

            They’re excellent.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Looks like the artist accidentally drew Barney Greenway. Nice review, dude.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      That is spot-on, damn.

  • brutal_sushi

    Lich King fucking rule. They are one of those bands that remind our blackened dead corpse hearts thats its ok to smile and have fun.

    • Name’s Dalton

      This does rule. Lyrics to “Crossover Songs are Too Damn Short” cracks me up. And of course the song lasted all of 1:14.

  • Eli Valcik

    Band picture, 5/5

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      The only way to improve it would have been by adding a pet unicorn.

  • Rob

    Finally checking these guys out, and loving it. I got the weirdest association in my head-in the movie Monster House when the babysitter puts in the Skull n Bones tape. Although I’m sure that was supposed to sound like fairly prototypical thrash punk.

  • toxic_hat

    I should already know about this band and from now on I’ll pretend that I did. Brilliant. Thanks, doc!

  • herrschobel

    bang…going to see them tomorrow in Hamburg Germany…with Cobalt !!! stoked

  • Pulsating Steel

    Good thrash is priceless, and when the band has a sense of humor even more so. Loving this so far. Thank you for existing, Lich King.

  • Manoj

    The music and the lyrics. Haven’t seen this in metal for very long. Nice find for a Friday.

    • AnnieK13

      I was just thinking this is exactly what I need to hear on a Friday.

  • AnnieK13

    The group name and group cartoon made me listen and this is exactly what I need to wake me up this morning.

    Group name may not be a reference to WOW…hehe but that’s why it got my attention ( and no I no longer play).

  • Tofu muncher

    very well written review of a terrific album.

  • Jeffrey Carter

    This “parody” album embodies the spirit of 80s thrash better than some actual 80s thrash bands. Fantastic stuff.

  • WannaFight?DamnYou!

    I couldn’t care less about the sneering and the fucktardism associated with the regular or below average thrash fans. The album is rock solid all over, the band has the skills to prove it and they do know that back in the day metal was all about having fun. The only music style here is metal, and it’s subgenre is “good”.

  • Nice release. I like them better when they’re in Overkill/Exodus mode versus MOD/DRI mode and I wish the production was a little beefier, but minor complaints. I’ll bet they’re a blast live.