When I first heard OHHMS were releasing a new album, I couldn't have been more excited. The band over the past few years have gone from strength to strength. Performing at each and every relevant music festival along the way and with numerous tours under their belts The Revival's path has crossed with theirs on many occasions. It's safe to say their live performances and those on record are a mesmerizing mix of progressive doomy sludge with a hint of punk rock in their ethos.
This November the band release their latest opus, ‘Exisit’, another thought provoking work of art from the Canterbury group, focusing on animal rights as a general concept that will hit a nerve with many a listener.
The opening track, ‘Subjects’, really delves deep into the albums theme. It captures the listening, meandering from riff to riff, steered by throbbing bass lines for a full 23 minutes. Casting a spell on you as a listener you can get drawn into the music, a fully immersive experience. Lyrically it is thought provoking, almost horrific, sung from the perspective of a caged animal focused on seeking revenue on his human captors. The world OHHMS paint envelops you, you get lost in the imagery they create and sucked head on into the horror story they tell.
The topics covered by this album have affected the band on many levels, so much so that new guitarist Stuart Day has turned vegetarian from its impact, citing he felt it wrong to still be eating meat after playing on songs like these.
The length of ‘Subjects’, in its behemoth 23 minutes, takes over the entirety of side one of the pressing. Side 2 is devoted to the three other tracks that make up Exist as a musical entity. Shambles starts dark and eerie, echoing sounds that could be out of a horror movie before the beating of the drum breaks through. Throbbing beats repeat as the guitar kicks in, menacing in sound explorative in feeling as we wind through another tale, just 6 minutes in length but keeping to the albums theme.
Calves starts off more gently than the other songs, a calming guitar intro accompanied by light symbols until Paul's vocals begin the tale. Softer than before, the song grows in energy, angst and fury as its subject unravels before the listener. You are drawn into the ideology of the song and feel the bands passion towards it. Gritty guitar riffs draw the tune along as throughout it lifts in pace before mellowing to finish off.
The album is rounded out with another six-minute thought piece, Lay Down Your Firearms, which deals with the gun control issue facing the world today. The song is completely different in feel, hardcore brutality and throaty vocals to the fore as this song has more speed and aggression than the rest of the album. A ditty that displays there are far more dimensions to this band than you could think possible.
As a recording it is truly a work of art. Progressive doomy drone with a punk rock twist at the end. Politically thought provoking work and a true masterpiece
**Photo Credit: Jake Owens