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Grimus - "Omnicide" (CD)

Grimus - "Omnicide" CD cover image

"Omnicide" track listing:

1. Without Master (3:45)
2. Decimation (3:34)
3. I, Destroyer (3:10)
4. The Hut Of Extinction (3:53)
5. The Vulture (3:21)
6. I.V.A.N. (5:39)
7. Draped In Fear (4:21)
8. Cradled By Misfortune (3:55)
9. Within Isolation (4:16)

Reviewed by on July 3, 2013

"These guys can play a modern style of death metal well, but without anything substantial behind the songwriting, this debut is little more than an average take on an overplayed sound."

Most death metal bands get by on their impulsive anger and bitterness felt through impulsive music. The really great bands can take that and craft songs that reach deep into a listener’s psyche. It can be as simple as a forceful riff progression, a flashy solo, or a catchy vocal line. If a band wants to hook someone beyond the initial listen, that’s what needs to be done. Grimus gives a commendable attempt on their first album “Omnicide” to pull this off, but are not able to complete the task.

Grimus has a contemporary outlook on death metal, incorporating the occasional chugging section. The music hardly ever devolves into “deathcore” or some other trendy sub-genre, keeping the focus on delivering a hefty blow throughout the nine songs. The variety between the songs is suspect, as the guttural vocals and blasting drums can get tiring by the album’s final third. Keeping most of the songs under four minutes was a smart move from Grimus in keeping the attention sharp enough to avoiding too much screwing around.

Where “Omnicide” falters is in the band’s inability to connect these songs beyond the most basic emotional responses. So you plug in one of their songs and say to yourself, “Wow, this is a bruising cut. Really aggressive and punishing.” However, after that, there’s no reason to go back to it. The riffs aren’t that gripping and the majority of songs don’t have that one big aspect to get repeat traffic.

Notice that the word “majority” was used. At certain points throughout “Omnicide,” the band finds a way to sneak in a substantial highlight. Melodic guitar leads spruce up “Decimation” and “The Hut of Extinction,” offering a reprise from the suffocating music. The closing minute of “I.V.A.N” is as far away from the death metal formula as Grimus gets. The track itself is of the standard pace, until a mellow, atmospheric section opens up. It’s a promising gesture that is given time to space out, and though the band never reverts to this again, the fact it was included is a hopeful sign for what could come.

This isn’t the ‘90s anymore, where death metal bands could get by on pure hatred and misanthropic lyrics alone. Years have given us a wide range of sounds, and that has brightened the dynamics that were eventually going to be needed for the genre to progress. “Omnicide” lacks the kind of can’t-miss material that would make it worth pulling out at least once a week. These guys can play a modern style of death metal well, but without anything substantial behind the songwriting, this debut is little more than an average take on an overplayed sound.

Highs: Band doesn't lack aggression, nice melodic outro to "I.V.A.N", keeps things to 35 minutes

Lows: Gets repetitive by the final third, not memorable, one listen provides everything a death metal fan needs and nothing else

Bottom line: There are sparks of potential to be found on this debut album, but by and large, it's a bland and unexciting death metal album.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)