(Unspeakable Axe)

01. Intro
02. Dead
03. Trust
04. I Hope the War Comes
05. Hypochrist
06. Nothing More Than Dust
07. Omnivore
08. Arise (SEPULTURA cover)

RATING: 7.5/10

Italian neo-thrashers OMNIVORE may not set the world afire with their bric-a-brac emulations of the past. However, the young band possess the smarts to assemble their nicked pieces like an homage instead of committing outright thievery, even with a cover of SEPULTURA's "Arise". Covers generally being a no-no for a debut album, of course. At least OMNIVORE keeps their business to thirty-one minutes, a plus in this instance. All said being moot, considering OMNIVORE is already in stasis until further notice.

Early SEPULTURA certainly plays its hand in OMNIVORE's retro blast coaster, as does MORBID ANGEL and just about every thrash and death master hailing from all global points including the Bay Area, Brazil and post-division Germany. To their credit, OMNIVORE plays fast as hell, which will entreat them to indiscriminate speed junkies, but facing the facts, there's not much offered here that you can't pull down from the classics shelf.

Mostly, OMNIVORE are monstrous and attentive to what they're doing. They have reasonable control over their speed and the gory guitar solos are part of their attraction. Sometimes, however, all of the band's parts become so eruptive they stumble over one another until opting for a strict thrash pattern to yank everyone back into line.

A quick spoken word segment from guitarist/vocalist Paul (aka Pol) during the intro of "Dead" is uttered gruffly like Batman without a conscience, positing a chilly prelude where figurative lawyers pleading for help are told "no" with belligerence. It's actually quite an impactful moment, because the immediate whiplashing speed thereafter hammers home the copious nihilism OMNIVORE is trying to convey with "Dead" and the rest of their album. Consider a later song entitled "I Hope the War Comes" further evidence. Then there's a blatant attack against the Vatican with "Hypochrist", which again finds Paul coldly mocking, this time against Catholic values before the song flares from his sardonic rant.

The album's best track, "Nothing More Than Dust" flies with careening haste, carrying loads of zigzagging chords and flailing whumps. At times threatening to unhinge as the band interchanges tempos, the more heated the track becomes, however, the tighter OMNIVORE gets before halting the entire proceedings with a gorgeous twelve string outro. Yeah, the acoustic intermission has become passé in thrash ever since TESTAMENT first refined it on "The New Order", but the Renaissance tang to OMNIVORE's interlude is esthetic and well-designed.

Their cover of "Arise" is relatively harmless, if a click faster than SEPULTURA's original. In this case, faster isn't necessarily better, but Giona's grumbling bass smashes past the outrageous blitz of drummer Ste's near-grind patterns. The guitar solos are also pretty cool, if hardly in Andreas Kisser's league. Nevertheless, the fact OMNIVORE included a cover on a short album violates what could be considered the "Anti-'Diver Down' Rule".

Time will tell if this is OMNIVORE's first and last ride, or if there's more yet to come. The best that can said for a band with an undecided future is they're earnest acolytes of an era they hardly belong to, age-wise. At least they present a pretty good facsimile.


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