Omnivortex – Diagrams of Consciousness Review

Whenever life becomes too bullshit to mention, I can always turn to Finnish death metal. It looms large from the grave, wraps me in arms of bone and bile and makes everything better. That cold kiss, that horrendous hug is what I’ve come to expect from the scene. However, Omnivortex arrived with absolutely no warning. The initiated will be aware that the Finnish signature sound is fucking disgusting, full of foul heaping riffs that crawl and crush in equal measure. Diagrams of Consciousness illustrates an acute knowledge of obtuse angles, but it does so with a luster that ensures each riff rings with crystalline calamity. Although Finland’s familiar corpse breath is absent, there’s enough diversity in this material to scratch any omi-itch. And Diagrams of Consciousness is not merely content to scratch; instead this debut gouges, bludgeons, freezes and burns. These vortices of wrath and ruin are not for the faint of heart. But for those possessed of metal’s more violent ventricle, this collection of songs may just beat with broad appeal.

Omnivortex’s sound is a compound of death metal that never shies away from the progressive or technical. A firm grasp of melody and a propensity to maul with a blackened claw hones these edges. But what really makes this debut stand out is the band’s penchant for riffing. Every song on Diagrams of Consciousness is filled with a robust sense of rhythm that has been genetically engineered to impact. Huge palm-mutes often give way to rattling acceleration or converge with fluid tremolos with ease. Even the vocals vary. Niko Lindman’s deep, intelligible roars shift into mid-range screams when required yet stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Severi Saarioja’s pitched histrionics, which recall Joe Duplantier. The final product is a fantastic exemplar of death metal’s capacity as a conduit for diversity.

The album’s palpable efficacy lies in the writing. Saarioja and Mikko Pylkk√∂ pin down their riffing with gravitational heft. “Cephalic Fluid Extraction” and “At the Mountains of Madness” can’t help but lacerate with rampant death metal hooks. The former builds to an explosive crescendo that exists in immediate odds with any vertebrae. Omnivortex are also more than willing to cripple at a slower pace. “Barren’s” tidal riffs ebb and flow, but belie a chorus that would be impossible not to regurgitate ad nauseam. It is to the album’s absolute merit that a song like “Life Harvester” can spring from “Barren’s” ossified remains and proceed with technical buoyancy. All of these elements exist in subtle harmony. At no point does it feel like the band’s influences are vying for position. Instead they gel subtly yet distinctly, with each tempo afforded careful consideration within the album’s pacing.

Everything about Diagrams of Consciousness is big. The sheer magnitude of the riffing is enhanced by a pristine production. The guitar lines sound immaculate. Aaro Koskinen’s drumming maintains a constant seismic undercurrent and Lindman’s lead vocal performance positively strides across the record. Unfortunately bigger is not always better. Mikael Reinikka’s bass is often swallowed by the bombast. This penchant for mass also extends to the run time. As well-conceived as Diagrams of Consciousness is, it’s a little too long. Although I wouldn’t care to nominate a song for excision, the progressive closer clocks in at over eleven minutes. It’s a great finale but would seem the prime candidate for editing.

Omnivortex have, in many ways, written a treatise on cohesion. At a glance, the exceptional black metal tumult that closes “Chasm” shouldn’t coexist with “Last Bearing’s” considered nature. But it does. And what’s more, it’s a strangely hypnotic and emotional experience. Not many records can brandish reckless abandon in one hand with structures and solos so full of foreboding narrative in the other. Diagrams of Consciousness not only manages just that, but it does so with apparent ease. And as a debut album it’s impossible not to be impressed. All fans of extreme metal will find something to adhere to here. If an immersive combination of proficiency, musicality and absolute enormity somehow doesn’t tick your box, then you probably don’t like metal. In which case, may the vortex take you soon. Because it’s going to take me all the way to list season… and we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Concorde Music Company
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 20th, 2020

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