Despite having three albums already under their belt, and me being quite heavily into sludge metal for a number of years now, somehow OHHMS are a band that I had not previously heard a single music note from before. OHHMS are a five piece from sunny Kent, but despite being from the so-called “garden of England”, OHHMS do not produce “chilled out summer grooves” for warm June days - OHHMS produce booming sonic soundscapes more reminiscent of an October storm. Don't let the acoustic album intro fool you – this is big, heavy, bombastic noise at its best. OHHMS' molten lava riffs flow steadily and generously as Paul Waller's powerful vocals guide us along the way.
After the brief, gentle intro track comes “The Magician”. This track doesn't waste in time in unleashing the aural destruction as those gorgeously downtuned riffs come crushing down on your head like the ceiling of a collapsing cathedral, paired wonderfully with Paul's strong, aggressive, yet cleanly sung vocals. As a first impression, OHHMS are a band that could give Isis a run for their money, were they still to be around.
“The Hanged Man' doesn't relent on the heaviness front, but rather sees it increase further, but at no point does this descend into noise for the sake of noise – OHHMS make amospheric post-metal art, and they do it well, melding crushing guitars with flurishes of experimentation and a dynamic vocal approach. At over thirteen minutes long, “The Hanged Man' takes its time to build up towards its beautiful end.
“The World” takes us into slightly more melodic, Bossk-esqe territory before throwing us right back in at the deep end with its crushing rhythms and chugging guitars. Just as you get used to this track slowing right down, it speeds right up again. OHHMS are a band not afraid to constantly change the pace and mix things up.
At almost twenty-two minutes long, album closer “The Hierophant” feels like what the whole album has been building up to so far. “The Hierophant” opens with a wall of noise that feels like a towering glacier of sound just waiting to come crashing down, and the tension builds and builds until we are rewarded with a hypnotic, otherworldy mix of slow, rhythmic drumming, chanted vocals and lingering guitar chords before we reach a more melodic and relaxed mid section that lets Paul's vocals really shine.
With “The Fool', OHHMS have crafted a really wondeful piece of sludgey post-metal that any discerning heavy music fan should enjoy, particular fans of Isis, Bossk, Hark or Elephant Tree. This is high heavy metal art with a streak of creative intelligence running right through it. This might just be some of the best British sludge metal in years.