“The Omniclasm” is the 5th full-length from USA thrash band Lich King, and comes a half-decade after the band’s last studio album. During that time, they put out a few singles and an EP, and lost their vocalist (who has long been the identity of the band). Of course, in true Lich King fashion, Tom Martin is still hanging around and provided the angry maniacal yelling on this record. With each album, he grows to sound more and more like John Connolly from Nuclear Assault, and this comparison is true of the band’s sound as a whole. Bringing on Mike Dreher from Condition Critical has made the bass stand out, resulting in a somewhat noisier and busier production that is similar to classic records like “Game Over” and “Handle With Care”.
Lich King still play their own distinctive brand of thrash on “The Omniclasm”. They continue to have a heavy emphasis on chromatic riffs, in addition to more standard thrash and punkish riffs. Humour is also still in full effect, as displayed on tracks like “Preschool Cesspool”, “Cut The Shit”, and the bonus track “I Quit”. These three tracks rank amongst the catchiest, not just because of their hilarious lyrics, but also because they’re genuinely fun to sing along to. The gang shouts of the title of “Preschool Cesspool” are sure to be a hit live, while “I Quit” is one of those hate-tastic anthems that was just made for thrash metal.
As the band has done occasionally in the past, they display the full extent of their musical talents on “Civilization”, which is a lengthy epic, complete with unique harmonies early on and plenty of groove in the latter half of the track. Another highlight is the mind-bending “Our Time To Riot”, which features some of the wildest riffs Lich King has ever unleashed amidst a fury of speed and thrashing goodness. This is a song that shows how thrash can still be interesting even when it isn’t shaking up the formula very much. It is simply fast and full of good riffs, which is all that is needed to make this subgenre work.
As with all Lich King records, there aren’t many weak points on “The Omniclasm”. The only head-scratching moment is the annoying child’s voice that opens “Preschool Cesspool”. It’s not even the voice itself that is frustrating, but more just how long it goes on for. Still, the band quickly redeems themselves, and all is forgiven once the thrashing starts. Some of the deeper cuts on this album might be a little bit weaker than its singles, but they’re still consistent musically with the rest of the album, and manage to keep the energy of the record high.
The two bonus tracks are extremely worthwhile. Covering Vio-lence is an impossible task; nobody will even come close to the original, but Lich King’s effort is very admirable. The bass break in “Eternal Nightmare” is even better because of Dreher (who absolutely dominates throughout the entire record). Meanwhile, the other bonus track, “I Quit”, closes the album on an even higher note, and is certainly one of the best Lich King songs to date.
It’s tough to rank Lich King’s 3 most recent albums (“The Omniclasm” included, "Super Retro Thrash" excluded) given their stylistic similarities, but this newest effort is worthy of standing alongside the other two. The production is the best it has ever been, and the songwriting remains fresh. I’m still not sure the band can stand to lose Tom on vocals, especially as this album shows him unleashing yet another great performance, but they’re still on the right path. Given all of the great new thrash releases in March and April (Warbringer, Havok, Harlott, and probably several more I’m missing), it is a testament to the quality of “The Omniclasm” that this record can stand up against any of these other albums, and will be remembered for years to come!
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"Our Time To Riot"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott