Formed from the ashes of The Old Dead Tree, French dark metal band Ommatidia has certainly gotten off on the right foot with their debut effort, In This Life, Or the Next. This album often alternates between melancholic and dark moods, and is filled with excellent vocal harmonies and sections that are more than headbang-worthy. This may not be the perfect progressive gothic metal album, but it's an excellent effort that promises an excellent future for this French quintet.
Ommatidia plays a mix of gothic metal and progressive rock - a style that the band considers "melodic dark metal". The biggest influences I hear in Ommatidia's music are modern-Paradise Lost, Pain of Salvation, and Devon Graves-related projects (Deadsoul Tribe, Psychotic Waltz, The Shadow Theory). The music is often ominous and atmospheric, mainly due to the omnipresent synths throughout the album, but there also plenty of more emotional vocal harmonies in the vein of Daniel Gildenlöw & company. A track like "Senses Commotion" just reeks Pain of Salvation during much of its duration. If you know how much I enjoy this type of progressive-oriented melodic gothic metal, it should be no huge surprise that Ommatidia has amazed me with their debut effort, In This Life, Or the Next. The compositions are unforgettable, the musicianship is impressive, and the production is raw and highly-impressive.
In This Life, Or the Next has just about everything I can ask from a gothic/progressive metal album - engaging compositions, impressive musicianship, and an unbeatable atmosphere. Ommatidia's music demands multiple spins before it begins revealing itself, and the album may lack a bit of variation, but this is still an exceptionally strong debut effort worth 4 stars. I'll be keeping a close eye on where these French lads go in the coming years.
1. Only Found by Those who Seek
2. Starspeed God
4. Senses Commotion
6. Shy Away
7. Leaning on Complete Affinity
8. Unaffected by Loss
9. Naked Truth