‘Tis the season for weddings. We’re in the midst of the matrimony-industrial complex’s yearly offensive upon our weekends and livers, and I’ve just sworn off alcohol and people for the third time this summer because of it. Weddings are pretty fascinating occasions for a social observer like myself. You get to see two people with different backgrounds gather their family and friends with all of their cultural and personality differences together in one place with the goal of giving the marriage coin-toss a try, and you never know how it will turn out. In 2017, Boston band The Offering dropped a self-titled—and killer—EP that got them noticed by Century Media. Well, it’s time to check out their debut full-length Home, so grab something olde, something nü, something growled, and something blues, because today we’ll be haunting the chapel to see if the band can successfully marry an unhealthy number of musical influences into a cohesive whole.
I apologize in advance for the number of name drops and genre tags I’m going to use here, but The Offering have thrown hard rock and pretty much every metal subgenre and their core variants into a Nutri Ninja and Home is the resultant prog smoothie. Singer Alex Richichi has a gnarly vibrato and is possessed by enough vocal devils to send a herd of pigs tumbling into the sea, but if I had to pick a trio of singers for comparison, I’d go with Hansi Kürsch, Myles Kennedy, and Chester Bennington—and that’s just his clean singing. He also uses death growls, thrash shouts, blackened rasps, and even slam squeals throughout the record, and if this description sounds like a disaster in your mind, I don’t blame you. I swear to God it works like a charm, but only because Richichi is one of the most capable, passionate, and unique vocalists that I’ve come across in years.
It’s impossible to pick one of Home‘s three singles to embed since they’re all so different, but I’m going with “Ultraviolence”—a track I’ve concisely labeled as “progressive powerslammetalthrashcore”—as it probably displays the largest number of the band’s many sonic elements. It has guitarist Nishad George showing off his thrash chops and chaotic lead style, and that chaos is matched by Richichi completely losing his mind on vocals. When I suggested Into Eternity as a possible comparison, Steel Druhm said, “They’re Into Eternity after a meth and steroid cocktail.” “Lovesick” is a high-flying and bizarre mixture of power metal and metalcore akin to a more extreme Avenged Sevenfold, and “Failure (S.O.S.)” adds some black metal and djent to the equation. “Glory” finds the band crafting their closest thing to a trve power metal song—blackened death trve power metal with King Diamond vocals, that is—and “Dance with Diana” breaks up the constant elevenness of the proceedings with what sounds like Layne Staley and Rob Zombie performing a creepy duet over a grooving Black Label Society chugfest.
While the first seven tracks are killer, The Offering wait to drop the crown jewel of the record until the closing title track. If you locked Nevermore, Whitechapel, Linkin Park, and Alter Bridge in a room for several days and tasked them with writing a 15-minute Nightwish epic, it might sound like “Home.” The song begins with George noodling through proggy groove riffs, moves into Eagles territory for a few minutes with Richichi crooning soulfully, jumps into nüpowerdeathcore mode, and finally ends on a quiet, bleak note. I was nervous when I saw a song of this length on such a strange album, but The Offering pulled it off with class. The production on Home is massive with a powerful mix and master from Fredrik Nordström (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Dimmu Borgir), and the riffs, growls, and 808 drops are earth-shattering. There’s truly not a weak track to be found, but “Lovesick,” “Ultraviolence,” “Failure,” “Glory,” and “Home” are absolutely fantastic.
Trying to describe what Home sounds like with mere words is a futile endeavor, and like a destination wedding, you really have to experience it firsthand to truly appreciate it. The Offering unabashedly embrace untrve styles like nü-metal and metalcore while trying to push the limits of heavy music, and while 99 out of 100 bands who might attempt to make such an album would fail miserably, their hunger, willingness to experiment, and commitment to writing amazing songs have led to their beating the odds—just like that unlikely couple whose wedding we’ve all skeptically attended. Trve metal cred be damned, I love this record and not even death
core could us part.
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Century Media Records
Websites: theofferingmusic.bandcamp.com | theofferingmusic.com | facebook.com/theofferingmusic
Releases Worldwide: August 2nd, 2019