Omnicidal – The Omnicidalist Review

If you were deeply saddened by the news of Rimfrost’s demise in 2019, you were not alone. After Dr. Grier spent a week spinning Abigail in a dark room, we had to physically drag him into a cold shower and pay Brittney Slayes to give him a backrub just to get him out his catatonic state. Thankfully, the band changed their minds halfway into the pandemic, and all was right with the world. Sometime during their brief break-up, though, vocalist Sebastian Svedlund had the luminous idea to start Omnicidal, an entirely different band with an entirely different style: old school Swedish death metal with a teaspoon of Gothenburg melodeath. How does moshing a mile in someone else’s steel-toed soldier boots work out?

The main complaint Expedition: Darkness got from the rabble was that it was too soft, too melodic. It was described by a few as heavy metal with black metal vocals. Those people can eat their hearts out here, because Omnicidal immediately dropkicks you in the sternum with “By Knife” which is as catchy as it is lethal. There is a feverishness to this album, an unexpected injection of blackened thrash revealed in the frequent tremolo-based riffs and Svedlund’s bestial snarl. The Gothenburg influence flutters in the sharper, faster and thrashier riffs like “WWD” which is loaded with At The Gates-isms, the nitro-boosted frenzy of “Cemetery Scream” and the moshpit-in-a-can that’s “Narcissistic Abuse.” Of special note are the excellent melodic solos dotting the album, “By Knife” containing a prime example.

Such frantic fare can easily stumble into the pits of homogeneity, but Omnicidal knows the score and bucks the trend without effort. Tremolo in swing for “The Neverborn,” mid-paced Amon Amarth-like neck-snapping on “The Passenger,” dipping a toe into deathgrind for “Ten Shots,” this tracklist leaves boredom an entirely alien concept. Yet my favorite might be the bottomless malice of closer “Slow Decay,” where Svedlund oozes undiluted evil and the atmosphere thickens into a shroud of tar. A few tricks might be repeated once too often; the drum patterns don’t have as much flair as the riffs, for instance, focusing on indomitable energy and technical precision, and as such don’t bestow as much variety. But it’s hard to argue with the result because few bands nail the balance between nuclear energy and infectious melody quite like this.

If you are waiting for me to say that it’s all ruined by the production, jog on. The ear may require a moment to adjust because rarely does this much filth and distortion meet this level of production quality. The drums have beautiful depth and a natural sound that catches all the subtle nuances of the world-ending avalanche in progress, while the dual guitars find a delicious midway point between buzzsaw brutality and the litheness of a scalpel. The mix is spot-on, with the vocals forward but not too much so, and the drums granted an extra notch to better deliver their unstoppable energy. If pressed, I might have turned the bass up a notch, but that’s a personal preference and in no way a reflection on the quality of the mixing job here.

The Omnicidalist is a death metal album for a death metal audience. It borrows liberally from across the Swedish scene, but it mixes up the result with the members’ own pedigrees and a few unexpected influences to create something both new and familiar. It’s no deep, cerebral construction, and it’s no stirring emotional journey of unfolding atmospheric layers. But it’s everything it sets out to be: 10 tracks that each make you go “fuck yeah!” in their own ways, stuffed to the gills with ass-kicking riffs, enthusiastic snarling vocals, relentless drums, and impeccable production. It’s one of the most flat-out fun albums of the year, and I hope that the return of Rimfrost won’t mean the end of this little experiment because Omnicidal is a skull-obliterating outfit on par with the top death metal acts today.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Non Serviam Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 7th, 2023

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