Oniric Delusions

I have been ruminating as to how best to tackle Oniric Delusions. If you want the easy and probably most useful aspects, they are this: This death metal record is fantastic, though not groundbreaking, and deserves attention.

My issue lies with the phenomena I have been experiencing lately when it comes to death metal records. They are all good. I don’t know why, but they are. And Banisher has released a record that is, though not head and shoulders above the current norm, a slightly superior variation on that norm. They are just a little more percussive, musical and intense than their current peers. Not much. A tad. A scoatch. A tittle.

Banisher are a veteran crew, but I admit this is my first brush with them, and I am impressed. Their style harkens to Spawn Of Possession’s early efforts, with a touch of melodic DM – not enough to confuse the style, but enough to give the songs a true “song” quality. The riffs are crunchers; the solos lyrical; the vocals almost grindcore intense.

Guitarist Hubert Więcek (who is also current bassist for Decapitated) is behind the crunchiness of the riffs, and I can see why he makes a great bass player. His sense of rhythm and punctuation is superb, and combined with the tightly conjoined rhythm section of Michał Bartosik on bass and Jacek Gut on drums, gives the songs real punching power. Vocalist Szczepan Inglot rounds this out with his intense death roars and screams.

Album opener “Axes to Fall” is a showcase for the band’s autocannon performances. The riff-breaks are so catchy it’s almost a chore not to bang your head to them. It also showcases the very vocal-ish solo style Hubert uses, where the solos feel like part of the song structure instead of the other way around.

The bookend song, closer “The Fatal Parable of a Certain Mercenary” is almost the exact opposite style from the opener. A melodic, mid-to slow paced epic with some classic chord phrasing, this son feels like a closer as well as something of a throwback, with its familiar opening riff and just on the tip of your tongue referencing.

The songs in between are solid, though none stands out particularly, and none quite reach the opener or closer for emotional gravity. But they keep the ethics of the band: tight, furious and heavy as neutron star. It is a shortish album, but no moment is wasted, so it feels full of value. And the production is justly crisp and dynamic. Even the distorted, grumpy bass comes through in the mix.

I highly recommend this album for deathheads, which seems to be the trend lately, but jump while the bloody water’s warm. It is a quality release from a knowing bunch of players, and it should leave your ass satisfactorily kicked. It falls short of blowing the mind, or broadening the death metal spectrum, but it does feel fresh, immediate and memorable. It’s a damned good time to be a fan, and this is damned good fan’s record. Grab it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Sessions
August 18th, 2016


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