Sep 272022

(On September 16th Unique Leader Records released a new album by the Swiss death metal band Omophagia, and DGR takes a deep dive into it in the following review.)

The day that Omophagia put out an album where the first song isn’t called “Intro” is going to feel like a period of mourning isn’t it? Other than a clockwork two-to-three-year release schedule, there are fewer long-standing patterns out there that one can rely on quite like a band being four albums in and the first song still being called “Intro”. One more album and Omophagia will be able to release an “Intro” song EP.

It is good to see this crew still going though, as the Switzerland-based bruisers are one of the more severely underrated tech-death bands out there. Perhaps due to the unassuming nature of the band or just a general sense of how consistently ‘good’ they have remained throughout their three releases up to their latest one, Rebirth In Black, it seems like Omophagia constantly get the undersell.

What you can say about Omophagia is that despite the appearance of five dudes just making complicated death metal imagery, every one of their releases has sounded different from the one before it. You’ll note the natural evolution in song-writing and just how much Omophagia like a good jackhammer-groove, but that also comes not so much with a move forward but a complete leap somewhere else on the musical explosion map, just to keep things different on the fringes. Rebirth In Black continues that trend.

It’s noticeable throughout Rebirth In Black: Omophagia are a lot darker-sounding this time around, having embraced a very light dosing of some of the symphonic embellishments that many of their peers have. You’ll get a decent blasting of apocalyptic horns this time, but even the song-writing has taken a turn for the moodier and more atmospheric, especially when compared to the more razor-sharp and technically precise assaults of In The Name Of Chaos and 646965 before this album.

The overall core of Omophagia‘s sound remains largely intact, with plenty of room allowed for the guitar combo of Mischa and Hiqui to shred to their hearts’ content at a high clip. But as mentioned before, whereas Rebirth In Black‘s immediate predecessor contained a lot of embellishment to try and sound plasticine and futuristic, this one is trying to pack world-ender after world-ender on top of each other in a nice, neat stack.

Rebirth In Black is also the band’s longest album as it asks for a little over forty-six minutes of your time across eleven songs. The last time Omophagia scraped close to an album length like that was their first full-length Guilt By Nescience all the way back in 2011. You can probably sense it, but the expanded song lengths mean expanded reaching in terms of influence, since Omophagia really aren’t the sort of band to slow down  and kick out a doom track just for extra time. It translates to more music being packed into what is already there – which could help explain how the group found time to have Karl Sanders from Nile guest on the song “Redemption In Self Destruction”, Rebirth In Black‘s third longest out of the eleven here.

The album’s death obsession runs throughout the disc, as it has an overall theme focused on the end of society. “The Plague” spells out where Omophagia are drawing much of their influence on their fourth album, with its constant jackhammering and and relentless bass-guitar work. If you hadn’t gotten the chance to notice how fast the Omophagia crew generally like to keep things within those first few songs, “The Plague” is where you’ll get all of the hallmarks of this band.

You could treat the whole central block as the band’s somewhat-trademark sound and why they continue to appeal four albums in, with the triptych of “The Plague”, “Thoughts Of The Earth”, and “Serve As Slave” all keeping things fairly tight with no room to exhale. While the longer tracks within Rebirth In Black get to continually cycle parts back around and around – “Insights Of A Dying Man” sprints across a lot of ground with this – the shorter tracks either fall into blast-mining territory, wherein an already conceptually barren ground gets even more craters added to it via Omophagia‘s musical approach, or some really fun technical showpieces where the band seem to be having fun trying to see who is going to pass out first, considering how hard they’re pushing each other. Those are more equally spread out, so that for every late-album ass-beating like “All For None” you’ll have the equally suffocating response in follower “Time Tells”.

Rebirth In Black continues Omophagia‘s trend of being a band whose every song is consistently good throughout. Once you leap past the initial “Intro” song of the album, you get a moodier take on the overall Omophagia formula, which boils down to a whole lot of shred without being overbearing, some very impressive rhythm-section work, and a whole lot of breathlessly delivered vocals.

Omophagia are one of those bands wherein a song will come up at random and it’s hard to skip, because there’s always some impressive part coming along or some brutally heavy section that compels you to headbang along – mostly at lightspeed, though occasionally Omophagia do take pity on you and go more for a grooving riff rather than constant neck snapping. They are constantly scraping at the ceiling of much wider reach within the tech-death world and Rebirth In Black will likely continue that trend, although the amount of breathing room left before something shatters is quickly becoming less and less.

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