The sheer quantity of new thrash bands hailing from Italy is astounding. But despite this swarm of young manic thrashers, it seems that most of them are only interested in sounding like a couple of bands: Exodus and Overkill. It takes a great label like Unspeakable Axe Records to unearth and deliver Omnivore, an inspiring brutal death/thrash group. Their eponymous debut is a tribute to those truly relentless bands of the past. The most notable of which, Sepultura, they honor by covering “Arise”.
Over the course of a half hour, Omnivore delivers pounding rhythms, break-neck drumming, and vicious vocals. In fact, the vocals tend to be so rough that they escape the realms of thrash and belong almost solely to death metal. In spite of the ruthless tempos, the riffs on “Omnivore” are often somewhat technical. Perhaps not in the Coroner or Toxik vein, but certainly more complex than your typical Slayer clone. One area where Omnivore does parallel those tech-thrash giants is in the bass playing. Much like Sadus, Omnivore manages to deliver relatively loud, quality basswork that cuts through the wall of guitars. As you might imagine, these guitars are the highlight, simply because the number of riffs in this short record greatly outnumbers the quantity that you’d find on hundreds of other death or thrash albums. Tracks jump from one riff to the next, to the point where none of them are memorable. While I am usually the first one to criticize bands for poor songwriting, that’s really not the case on “Omnivore”. For one thing, this style of thrash isn’t conducive to being catchy. When you deliver an album that is pretty much the equivalent of taking a jackhammer to the head, you’re better off sticking with excessive brutality until the listener can take more, which the band does, with only a few exceptions. The other reason why Omnivore’s songwriting style is actually pretty good is because they sprinkle in more memorable bits alongside the aggression. They do this through the use of spoken word intros to separate the feeling of monotony between all tracks, as well as through the occasional interlude (“Nothing More Than Dust”, for example).
After braving the storm presented on “Omnivore”, you’re sure to come out with a sore neck, and the bad news is (for your neck, at least), you’ll keep coming back to this one. This style of thrash is sorely missed amidst the unending line of Exoclones, but just as Besieged has recently taught us, it is a style well worth revisiting often.
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"Nothing More Than Dust"
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott