REVIEW: ONI – “Ironshore”
It is safe to say that there’s always a treasure trove of surprises in the crazy world of progressive music. Throw in some metal and other extremities and blend all of this nicely, and you’re left with some mind-bending stuff. Oni certainly is mind-bending in many ways. With their newest offering ‘Ironshore’, Oni has given the world of prog-metal a new twist of madness.
“Barn Burner” kick-starts this record on a pretty intense note. What makes all of this so much more special is the Xylosynth. Holy smokes! The start of the song with this maniacal instrument brings in a new vibe to the song. The Xylosynth and the sheer skill that accompanies it gets in levels of shred mania never really seen before. The work on the bass and the drums are very impressive too! “Eternal Recurrence” carries these vibes forward, and the mood of the song really changes with clean singing. By itself, this song sounds a little more traditional, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — though it might have been a little ‘unproggy’.
“The Only Cure” is where things get really H-E-A-V-Y. The heavy riffing and rhythm sections on the drums, xylosynth and bass make for some amazing foundations to this great song. What makes this song so much better? Randy Blythe on the vocals. Yes, talk about being heavy! To top this off, this song sports some jaw-dropping work on the leads. Pretty much, this song is so complete by itself that there is nothing to complain about.
“The Science” is as progressive as it can get. Coming in at 11 odd minutes, this song captures a variety of songs to create a pallet of textures. While following the general sound of the album, this song also explores other interesting sounds and genres, I might add. One of the high points of this song is the incredible work on the bass. The instrumental sections and the combination of cleans and harsh singing sound really good, without making the song sound like a struggle.
“Chasing Ecstasy” is another wonderful song off the album. The emphasis on clean singing does take the listener away from the general idea of what the album has been so far. A subtle start with the drums wonderfully opens up for rest of the band to kick in. The singing doesn’t sound out of place, but fits well with rest of the band. This is one of my favourites off the record, where the clean singing does add an interesting mood to rest of the music. While the instrumental section creates a really heavy song full of feeling, the singing just seals the “feels deal”.
“Kanvas” sounds a lot like a modern progressive arrangement. This song features a lot of electronic arrangements with oodles of the xylosynth. The heavier parts of this song creates a lot of space for the synths, thus producing a rather eerie vibe. “Thrive” on the other hand returns to a more orthodox progressive metal sounds with elements of tech-death in it. The idea of sounding a little orthodox doesn’t make this song any less interesting. “Coast to Cost” is an amalgamation of everything that the album has to offer. This makes this track a fitting conclusion to the album. You’ll fall in love with the blazing guitar work on this song — catchy riff coupled with sci-fi style synth leads. The rhythm section on the drums and the bass make the song sound incredibly tight and solid as well.
‘Ironshore’ by Oni is fire. Period. This record definitely features some of the best work on the rhythm section among all releases from 2016. The strength of this album lies in its insane rhythm sections, which create the perfect atmosphere for some killer lead sections. I guess what makes progressive music exceptionally enjoyable are its rhythm sections, and this album stays true to that notion. There isn’t a single boring moment on the record. This record is also a shining example of jaw-dropping work on the bass guitar. The bass on this album not just add depth to the overall sound but creates its own unique textures in the music. The Xylosynth spices up the music to a new level. The sheer speed and intensity of the Xylosynth’s arrangements are simply amazing. While the guitars and the drums phenomenal, the work on the bass and the Xylosynth are simply exceptional.
A lot of orthodox elements and technical rudiments are given the progressive treatment by a group of amazing musicians. What could ever possibly go wrong? Nothing at all. ‘Ironeshore’ features Oni on vocals, Martin Andres and Brandon White on guitars, Chase Bryant on bass, Joe Grulich on drums and Johnny D on Xylosynth.