Album Review: Oni – Alone

We were so excited by the arrival of the new Oni E.P. 'Alone, that when it crossed our desks here at The Razor's Edge we had a queue fo writers wanting to get their hands of it. So when it came to our review we thought we'd do things a little differently, so here is our Oni double review. Two reviews, two writers, two perspectives!


Album Review: Oni - Alone
Reviewed by Neil Bolton

The red hot molten lava lake we call heavy metal is constantly bubbling and smouldering. Volcanic gases cause pressure forming into bubbles on its crust, which can occasionally form vents and explosions. These explosions in turn, can sometimes result in red hot magma being ejected from the liquefied rock, landing elsewhere and creating new forms. Sometimes these releases from the pit can be like something being coughed up by an asthmatic old relative just lingering on the edge, nothing special, just sat there, just in the way.

They can also be magnificent streams of molten rock shooting glorious streams of golden hot lava with incredible natural beauty, creating something special to behold. One of the most recent ejections from the Heavy Metal lava lake is Djent. Please apply the above metaphor to Djent as you see fit.

Canada’s Oni are not 100% Djent. Well, I am led to believe Djent is not to be used as a sub genre moniker, but if you can use it to describe a band’s sound then I’m gonna use it. They describe themselves as prog/thrash. Not to my ears.

This five track EP starts with the title track, 'Alone'. Jazzy sounding guitars lead into one of the few riffs on this E.P. shortly followed by the clean well produced vocals, and an obviously well accomplished, well practiced band get us on our way. Not until track two 'Rift' do we hear the vocals do the all Randy Blythe thing. The guitars seem to be doing the same thing throughout the song though. A similar tone carries on into the third track 'Dead Inside' with break downs and a strange keyboard sound. Sing along, audience pleasing, choruses are prevalent.

Track four carries on the same, including the ironic lyric “Here we go again” just before the breakdown. “Faceless Portrait” closes proceedings with a mix of clean and Randy styled vocals. Fans of Oni, or similar sounding bands will be very happy with this release, and good luck to them. It would be a poor old world if we all liked the same magma.

Album Review: Oni - Alone
Reviewed by Carl Black

I know nothing about Oni other than they have been described as prog metal. So let’s see how progressive they are and how metal they are?

The E.P. is split. Four-fifths are one style and the remaining fifth is something else. That stand alone "something else" happens to be the opening song on the E.P.. 'Alone' is like a cross between While She Sleeps and Dream Theatre. It’s the most commercially viable and the most radio friendly song on this release. They still have the hallmarks with the rest of the E.P. but 'Alone' stands out as not having any rough or gravelly vocals.

The remaining song on the E.P. are harsher and more abrasive. The singer gives it some growls as well as some emotionally driven singing. You can find plenty of references to Slipknot here and more than once I almost slipped into thinking I was listening to 'Spit it Out'.

Oni have this uncanny knack of playing very simple, cutting riffs, only two or three notes, then pausing with only the drummer playing, again a simple beat, and then flipping very quickly into an overly complex section that sounds almost jazzed infused, with more notes than a seventies bank robber. Oh and don’t forget the beat downs. Not on every song, but on most of them.

It’s a well-constructed and well produced album. Plenty of excellent musicianship and not devoid of all ideas. It just didn’t get my imagination going. I felt there is still gas in the Oni’s tank but on this E.P. they have not fully expressed themselves. I would not label them as prog metal. I’d label them as modern metal that’s a little half baked. A few more minutes in the oven and we could have had a different story.


Oni release 'Alone' on December 13th via Metal Blade Records

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