Pre-That’s the Spirit Bring Me the Horizon fans rejoice: Bad Omens is here to fill the void created when Oli and co. ditched the Sempiternal sound for a much more commercial-friendly path. Surely, that comparison will immediately manifest itself in the mind of the listener upon hearing the first few seconds of album opener “Glass Houses,” yet Bad Omens’ self-titled debut blazes its own trail just well enough to separate itself from their obvious [main] influence that is Bring Me the Horizon. In fact, Sumerian Records may have just found the next big thing to grace the metalcore community. Bad Omens sounds huge, feels huge, and will likely allow this five-piece to make some serious waves in the scene.
Frontman Noah Sebastian’s powerful yet strained screaming certainly aligns well with the Bring Me the Horizon vocalist in both delivery and nuance, while guitarists Nick Ryan and Joakim Karlsson supply more than a few Sempiternal influenced riffs (see “Reprise” for an undeniable “Shadow Moses” nod), but Bad Omens is more than simply a derivative of the aforementioned. Following an extremely strong start with tracks “Glass Houses” and “Exit Wounds,” single “The Worst in Me” is a more straight-forward, Sirius XM Octane-ready, radio rock track. The three opening tracks, while also the album’s first three promotional singles, all boast stadium-sized choruses, a la Breaking Benjamin, and are brimming with thrashing, catchy guitar work and neck-snapping breakdowns. If “Glass Houses” gets the metaphorical ball rolling, then “Exit Wounds” whacks it over the fence and “The Worst in Me” kicks the fence to the ground. Surely live-set staples, these songs are the perfect introduction to Bad Omens the band, and provide an impressive, energetic burst to kick off the album in colossal fashion.
Drawing influence from industrial acts, “F E R A L” is a more unique side to Bad Omens, and a welcome departure from the style of the first three songs. “Enough, Enough Now” and “Crawl” feature an additional side of the band, as both are much slower, more brooding tracks. “Crawl” is an eerie, piano-led pseudo-ballad and Sebastian’s vocals, seemingly projected from afar, compliment the gloomy atmosphere of the song. Despite a decent guitar solo, “Enough, Enough Now” is a much more forgettable track. Synth-laced “The Letdown” would not be an unwelcome addition to Linkin Park’s discography, with self-depreciating lyricism and an arena-rock chorus. “Reprise (The Sound of the End),” “Malice,” “Broken Youth” and “Hedonist” return to the foundation developed earlier in the album, and are each impressive songs in their own right. “Hedonist” is a downright ripper: just over two minutes long and overflowing with aggressive riffs, drumming, and vocals. “Reprise” is a pulse-pounding anthem with circle-pit-inducing riffs and an impressive gang-vocal chorus. Surprisingly, while being one of the three soft tracks on the album, “The Fountain” is beautifully composed and certainly a highlight. Featuring tribal drums, colorful keys, and melancholic vocals, “The Fountain” brings Bad Omens to an end with a chilling atmosphere. The song encapsulates and expands upon a vibe more subtly conveyed throughout the rest of record, one certainly fitting of the band (and album) namesake.
Metalcore is, in many ways, a “stale” genre, and many argue that it is simply impossible to forge an original sound in this era. This certainly plagues Bad Omens to an extent, and the previously discussed comparisons are inevitable. Based on the comments found across YouTube and Reddit (/r/metalcore) posts, these evaluations have already begun. The album is also at times hindered by cheesy lyricism. Though it is very rare to find a true poet fronting a metal band, the subject matter tackled on Bad Omens is very straightforward and often cliché.
Featuring several certified “bangers,” including the tremendous “Exit Wounds” and punishing “Reprise (Sound of the End),” Bad Omens have delivered an impressive debut, one certainly worthy of separation from their influences and recognition all their own. With an opening slot alongside Born of Osiris and Veil of Maya on Sumerian’s “10 Year Tour,” followed by a similar position (following the release of the record) for the “10 Years in the Black” tour with genre giants Asking Alexandria, Born of Osiris and I See Stars, Bad Omens certainly has the platform and opportunity to begin their career in a massive way. This debut LP, a very solid one at that, will further that momentum. You’ll be seeing (and hearing) a lot of Bad Omens in the years to come.
Stream the album in its entirety below: