Monday, December 26, 2016
Oracle - Beyond Omega
Twentyish years of listening to metal and Oracle are the first band to ever contact me from Alabama. They now comprise one third of all my knowledge of Alabama metal. I had somehow heard of Aceldama through a very old demo tape discovery somewhere and of Wormreich due to their tour bus tragedy a year or so back but beyond that I'm about as lost as that change in your couch cushions. That will change for sure. The first band other than Oracle I looked up described themselves as "4 crazy assholes from Mobile making music heavier than a fat chick with a mouth full of pork rinds." I sense a goldmine of hilarity just ripe for picking. I'm not so ignorant to believe that the state is a backwoods horror movie plot, though, or that it's comprised entirely of Klan members, or that everyone's girlfriend is also everyone's sister. As is the case across this entire dross encrusted planet, there is likely some extremely good music to be found even in the swamps of Alabama.
Oracle play a modern version of Death Metal that isn't particularly unique, new, or inspired. It all sounds like a mixture of typical Gothenburg fanfare and Cryptopsy-lite to me. Their album, Beyond Omega, is done well but there isn't a single point which stands out to me worth noting. The title track, "Beyond Omega" yields evidence of amateur composition tropes; arbitrary transitions, myriad riffs that don't seem to lead anywhere or serve any purpose other than having been included, little (if any) movement or narration. Occasionally Oracle do show some promise amidst the mostly mediocre material. An interesting introduction incorporating a piano arrangement adorns "By The Hand of Aestrea." The strongest part of the release for me is the slower part of "Nocturnal Creatures" due to a chord progression that rings with tragedy and heartache which is then complimented with a nice guitar lead over it. More often we're giving jumps into incongruous choruses and breakdowns such as in "Beyond The Crimson Veil."
Although Oracle haven't shown me anything new or different compared to any number of mentionable bands, they are not offensive to the ears. There is a confidence in the performance and the production is on par or above average. At this point their strength lies in their layered and at times satisfying melodies and more attention should be paid to using these types of sections more effectively to create complete songs and experiences. At times, there is some promise shown but until the band finds their own voice, they will be overlooked in favor of more established acts on a larger scale.