In introducing our song premieres I have a tendency to try to linguistically map what happens in the song, like a completely unnecessary tour guide trying to prepare impatient tourists for a jaunt that they’re completely capable of taking on their own. In the case of the OWDWYR song we’re premiering today, however, such an effort isn’t merely unnecessary, it would be doomed to failure.
“Ein” is a thoroughly head-spinning spectacle, so intricate, so elaborate, so stylistically kaleidoscopic, and so packed with unpredictable contrasts that carefully dissecting what happens from moment to moment, if that were even possible, would detract from the abundant thrills of the experience.
But if a careful mapping is out of the question, it still might be worth providing some other reasons why you should set aside the five minutes it will take to get your head thoroughly spun around.
Photo Credit: Albert Rende
OWDWYR is another silver lining on the dark pandemic cloud. A California trio who joined together to found the band in 2020, the lineup consists of guitarist and composer Paul Plumeri, Jr. (ex-Isyou), bassist Chris Williams (Dark Waters Fall), and vocalist Max Lichtman (ex-Immolith).
You’ll notice that there’s no drummer in that list, but for their debut album Receptor (which will be released on October 20th), OWDWYR filled that void in extravagant fashion with a list of session musicians whose names will turn heads, which was a necessary step because merely average drummers not only couldn’t keep up but would likely be a significant drag on the spectacle of the music.
The way OWDWYR describe the music is as “an extreme metal convergence of Tech Death, Prog, and Grind framed around a Classical core”. And as a further sign of what a mind-boggler the album is, they refer to their exploration over Receptor‘s 15 tracks of “a spectrum of influences ranging from Car Bomb, Human Remains, and Fleshgod Apocalypse to J.S. Bach, Allan Holdsworth, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.”
In listening to “Ein“, reference points like Obscura and Allegaeon may also come to mind. Maybe you’re beginning to understand why it would be so tough to map the course of even one song.
The classical influence comes through in the overture of “Ein“, which is a vibrant piano piece performed by Sydney Kjerstad — and one not disconnected to the bamboozling escapades that follow it (there are in fact melodic throughlines that help tie the whole song together).
Those escapades include plethoras of richly layered and ebulliently darting, swirling, and blazing fretwork, as well grim agonized chords and arpeggios that channel derangement and desperation, plus episodes of primitive, brutal pounding and jackhammering punishment — and a jazzy little guitar finale.
Even the growled vocals, which are always ferocious, themselves create a dynamism of bestial sound.
On this song the drumming was performed by Kevin Paradis of Ne Obliviscaris and Benighted, and of course he puts on a hell of a show all by himself.
Finally, as if the music weren’t enough to give your head a swift spin all by itself, the accompanying video made by Zenbeast Media is also an extravagant visual head-spinner.
Along with Kevin Paradis, the album also includes drum performances by Navene Koperweis (Entheos, ex-Animals as Leaders), Kenny Grohowski (Imperial Triumphant, John Zorn), and Alex Cohen (Contrarian, ex-Pyrrhon). In addition, Frank Albanese from Hath contributes additional vocals on two songs, and Ed RosenBerg III plays saxophone on two of them.
Receptor was mixed by AJ Viana at AJ Viana Productions, and it was mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. The logo, album art, and layout are the work of Garek Druss.
Receptor will be released on CD, LP, and digital formats, and it’s available for pre-order now. We’re also including a stream of the previously released song “Lagos“, which features drumming by Kenny Grohowski and one of the sax performances by Ed RosenBerg III. No advance mappig would work very well here either.