Here we are, once again, gathered together under the metaphoric roof of the Angry Metal Hall. Our ranks comprise fans of all walks of metal, no two tastes are identical and yet we all convene here to bang our heads as one. What joins us disparate degenerates as children of the Jørn? What fantastic force unites the photometers, hamsters, and screaming boxes that plague our comment section? The answer holds as trve now as in those dark days preceding the internet: it’s the riffs, stupid. This obvious answer in turn poses an obvious question: “What does this have to do with Octopus‘ Supernatural Alliance?” As fate would have it, the Detroiters’ debut gives each of us in this motley medley of metal something to appreciate, but what might that be? You guessed it! You better have, anyway, cuz we’re gonna talk about it, starting now.
Right out the gate, Octopus ensnare the listener in slithering, rocking riffs, the kind sure to keep explorers of Supernatural Alliance held fast for at least a track or two. Could the remaining 9 tracks possibly rock in the same garden as this? Silly question, yo. From the Deep Purple hues of “Slave and Master” to the Necromancers-meets-Alunah title track, and even throughout the moody eeriness of “Child of Destiny,” Supernatural Alliance is a riff factory operating at max capacity. Guitarist J Frezzato traipses through tonal trails ranging from Orange Goblin retro revelry, monolithic Ghost Brigade chunkiness, and the fluid middle ground of Oceans of Slumber, and each adventure reveals a track armed to the teeth with the kind of riffs that have been keeping air guitars in business for centuries. The drums are about as stock-rock as they come, yet this move feels more practical than unambitious: the pacing is maintained effectively and in an understated manner, allowing the rock to keep rolling without distracting or detracting from The Almighty Riff. Keep your magical healing herb/s ready, your neck is going to need them.
Though scientists have recently determined the meaning ov life to be “to enjoy of deep riffs,” the great paradox of our time is that metal cannot live on riffs alone. Octopus meet this challenge with open tentacles, wielding a signature weapon of their own to augment the armada of awesome riffs. Enter: Masha Marjieh. With the powers of Alunah and Blondie combined, Captain Marjieh is the real hero here, keeping noise pollution down to zero and magnifying the bands performance with her own. Whether lending a sexy, infectious vibrancy to “Strike” or softly crooning her way through the more delicate corners of “All the Love,” Marjieh’s delivery recalls the works of Oceans of Slumber or the aforementioned Alunah in a performance easily on par with either, more established act. Indeed, this Octopus has a powerful plethora of riff-laden limbs lined with sweet sonic suction-cups at its disposal, but does it have the imagination and intelligence needed for it to be a truly formidable opponent?
Stop asking stupid questions, yo. Supernatural Alliance boasts an entire Angry Metal Menagerie of spirit animals, a 10 track ark of inspiration furthering the bloodlines of such revered beasts as Pink Floyd, Orange Goblin, Khemmis, and countless others. “All the Love” alone manages to drag the listener through a smoky jazz lounge and the doomy depths of Ghost Brigade before arriving on the outskirts of Hakens Mountain, and if that descriptor bores you then I desperately need to know what kind of unfathomably innovative music has your bar set so freaking high. The choruses have a tendency to loop a little longer than necessary at times, but when set against such fun fare the matter is all but unnoticeable. Keyboardist Adam Cox’s Deep Purple shading and 80’s synth leads go a long way towards countering any potentially stagnant moments, and I’ll be as honest as my hips, “Strike” turns me into something KC and the Sunshine Band would be proud of. If music that manipulates me into a state of awkward white motion isn’t fun, I don’t know what is.
Here at Slightly Irritated Rock Lad, we know that you have all been deeply saddened by the inexplicable influx of 4’s within the last month, and for that, I apologize but I can only say this: suck it, turds. I finds what I finds, and I done found me a fine fuckin find. We are bound by The Riff, and it is my sworn duty to guide you creeps unto its fretted trvth, no matter how much you lot bitch about it. You’re welcome.