LABEL: HOLY ROAR
WORDS: SARAH SHODIPE
OHHMS debut album was released only 20 months ago, in 2017. Normally, following a release up that soon isn’t really a good omen. But nevertheless, the Kent natives managed to craft a compelling, and not to mention a rather substantial album. 2017’s ‘The Fool’, while being a solid album with plenty of enjoyable moments, proved itself to be somewhat of a slow burner. ‘Exist’ on the other hand takes all the potential of that debut record and fine tunes it.
The four song tracklisting of this 40 minute album on its own already make ‘Exist’ a unique listening experience. But as you delve deeper into the core, you’ll see how the band combines aspects of both new and ‘classic’ doom metal. From the off that, not only is it quite clear to see that OHHMS have pushed themselves into a new realm of progressive sensibilities on ‘Exist’, but also that the album charters a new sense of bravery for the band. Exhibit A: The 23-minute opener to the record.
“OHHMS have pushed themselves into a new realm of progressive sensibilities”
‘Subjects’ takes its time to intricately move its way through a whole of attitudes and emotions and textures along the way. During its run time you’ll find amazingly verbose ebbs and flows of what you would call a more traditional post-metal track. But in the same breath, we find more ambient moments that have a way of hitting home with it subtle experimentalism and soothing percussion. The vocals seem to match the instrumentation in terms of its diversity. While some of the shifts on the track can feel a little forced and run the risk of leaving the listener with whiplash, ‘Subjects’ is simply indicative of how the album rages with plenty of post-hardcore depth, and a progressive driving force that seems to pay homage to the abilities of OHHMS.
Following on from that ‘Shambles’ is comparatively shorter than the record’s opening track at only eight minutes. The gentle yet rather cutting intro lulls us into something of a false sense of security, before building into the well-defined that seems to serve as a foundation to the song. The song rings as a melancholy, an emotive anthem, as the lyrics of the song give us shift in perspective to want we’ve been experiencing up until this point.
“the album rages with plenty of post-hardcore depth…”
Shorter still is the third offering on the record, ‘Calves’. A slightly more earnest and heartfelt offering, the psychedelic guitars stand out here as the real driving force for the song. While ‘Calves’ certainly gives us epic prog rock-esque sounds and deep vocals that are full of passion, it serves as being more of a segway to the closing song than anything else. ‘Firearms’ closes the album out in a similar way to how it opened – a progressive and intricately pace quasi-anthem. The only difference is that element of mathcore mixed in, just to ensure OHHMS have covered all their bases.
‘Exist’ excels best as being a mish-mash of everything when it comes to progressive music, but there’s no doubt it’s their goal to be at the very height of prog metal, and while it may not be for everyone, those who dig this kind of thing will find themselves nothing less than thoroughly satisfied.