Cripes, I haven’t had an album make me scratch my head as much as this in quite some time.

OWDWYR is a technical death metal/grind/djent experimental metal trio (aided by a literal army of guest drummers for almost every track- including Kevin Paradis of Benighted and Kenny Grohowski of Imperial Triumphant) that utilizes classical and orchestral elements into its barrage of chaos. And not just piecemeal orchestration, but pulls actual arrangements from other artists and influences such Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Brazillian composer Heitor Villa Lobos, 60s/70s British composer/guitarist Allan Holdsworth, and modern artists like New Jersey composer Brian Lawlor and even Radiohead.

Add those odd influences and arrangements into a spazzy early 00s grindcore/mathcore scene that imbues the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Human Remains, Gaza, Ed Gein, The Red Chord, Between The Buried and Me, and newer bands like The Summoned, Journal and such. It is equal part genius, especially when the classical other influences are in play and equal parts utter chaos, that’s often a bit head-ache-inducing.

43 minutes, 15 songs, and only 5 feature the above outside arrangements, meaning the remaining 10 are much more pure spastic grinding chaos, which is done well and will appease fans of the aforementioned bands. Tracks like “Ripped From the Bog”, “Stench of Indemnity”,” “Writhe”, “Cower” (with its chaotic sax break)  and “Not Afraid” (with slightly out-of-place NYHC injections) are skronky, stammering, noisy, discordant and very ‘squeal-y’, but certainly technically proficient and skillfully played.

But tracks like “The Liminal Carapace”, “Lagos”, “Supplicant”, “Reverie” or the little piano ditty that starts “Ein” where those other oddball influences mentioned above or the addition of some homegrown, chaotic orchestration arise where OWDWYR border on something far more special and memorable.

My personal favorites (along with “The Liminal Carapace”) “A Vessel Emerges” (with Hath‘s Frank Albanes on vocals) and “Pitchtongue Vesper” could have come from any latter BTBAM album, and closer ‘The Sputtering Torch” is a further sign that bands flirtation with more movie score inspired and classical arrangements are their best element by far and hopefully further explored in future releases.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 3rd, 2024


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