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Oni: Ironshore

The cover art on this release depicts a Japanese demon or Oni, the source of this band's name. The Oni represented here is imposing and relatively still, even though it's posture suggests that, if necessary, it will so some terrible damage. As cover art, the image is awesome; unfortunately, it's the toughest thing about this release.

Given the band's name, I was expecting something a little different from what I heard. Sure, there are some heavy moments but the music on this album veers so often into metalcore territory that it loses its edge. I realize that Oni sees itself as more progressive than metalcore, but the alternating clean and dirty vocals owe more to the latter than to the former. The rough vocals make more sense with music like this whereas the clean ones are often too whiny or simply just out of place.

The biggest strength of this album is the level of musicianship in the other instruments. This band clearly has talent and major technical skills but I sometimes found them going on and on for no reason other than to impress listeners. I realize that this kind of playing actually is impressive but shouldn't it serve even more of a purpose? There are equally striking passages played on a Xylosynth, a rare instrument in metal bands, but is such uniqueness enough to make this band stand out?

This album has impressive moments but it's ultimately a misfire. Most of the tracks ("Chasing Ecstasy" is a good example) are way too steeped in metalcore to make an impression as progressive metal. There are some good heavy moments ("Barn Burner" kicks things off pretty well) but such moments are quickly taken over by the larger formula.

Track Listing:
1. Barn Burner
2. Eternal Recurrence
3. The Only Cure
4. The Science
5. Spawn and Feed
6. Chasing Ecstasy
7. Kanvas
8. Thrive
9. Coast to Coast

Added: December 15th 2016
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1078
Language: english

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