For years people surrounding me have been talking with nothing but praise about a band called Profane Omen. I always value any advice I get concerning metal, so naturally, I checked out their music and found myself listening to especially their 2009 release “Inherit The Void” an awful lot of times. This was of course around the same time they released “Reset”. After that, it was a little bit quiet at the Profane Omen front. So, when it was announced that the band would release a new album “Ooka”, I was excited. The album saw the first rays of light September 7th, the band promised to take their musical expression to a whole new level. Let’s see if they held their word!
What does “Ooka” stand for? On the album cover, a plane shots through a red sky, which I suppose would most likely refer to Yokosuka MXY-Z Ohka, the Japanese kamikaze suicide planes used in World War II. I find the album cover a very smart choice because it clearly points towards the right direction when thinking of what the theme could be. How these songs individually connect with“Ooka”, I’ll leave for the listener to discover because after all… You’re here about the sound.
The album kicks off with “They Came For Us”. The track seems like an energetic powerful beginning, but what stroke me the most is not its catchy chorus and general vibe, but the ending. The song ends with a very powerful, almost jazzy, almost even cabaret-like, rhythm change. This makes it easy for the band to transition beautifully into the next track “Make It Count”, an adrenaline-driven song that will get you addicted to its heavy nature and kick-ass drumming and of course, a necessary nifty guitar solo. “One Man Show” continues on the same note, but offers some very versatile vocals within the song. The vocal performance is by far the strongest point in the song, but let’s not exclude the mindblowing heavy ass riffs and breakdowns.
The album slows down significantly with “Terminal Dysfunction” which again shows a different side of the band. The song, however, picks up in speed after the first minute in. After a couple of songs that were high on energy, “War Boy” is definitely something different that breaks with the first part of the album. If the band promised a new sound, they weren’t lying. “War Boy” is an intriguing song that stands out. It starts off with an almost poppy sound to it but then surprises us with the familiar Profane Omen sound that kicks in. A strong chorus, again some nifty intricate changes in the tempo near the end. The song ends in a climax and it leaves me with a craving for more songs. Sometimes prayers do get answered, as the album doesn’t end with “War Boy”.
“White Noise” soon follows, which interestingly has a lot of eighties-inspired heavy metal drenched into its guitar riffs and solos, even sometimes pushing through to the vocals. After two songs that were slightly breaking from the album “Aftersound” breaks with its predecessors by introducing again a more aggressive brutal sound. A fast track that continues into yet another surprise “The Wave”.
The beginning of the song mostly because of the deep clean vocals, which remind me of the melancholic and heartbreaking songs of Nick Cave that often cause shivers down my spine, that’s no different here. First time listening to the song, I was scared the band would continue in full-on blast beats, growls induced mode, but the song actually continues in the same way but gains more power and strength as it goes on. A break is introduced and a heavier sound comes, but it only causes more shivers. What a masterpiece. What especially surprises me in this song is aside from the vocals, the drums. There are some smart and intricate rhythms introduced that make the song eerie continuing that feeling by ending the song by whistling. I’m left only with the impression that this song touched my soul in a way I never imagined. What an impressive atmosphere. The album ends with “The Tide”, after “The Wave” I wasn’t sure if there would be anything to top the song, but “The Tide” is a smart choice. It has the perfect attitude and vibe for immediately wanting to replay the whole album again.
I have said it many times during this year already. 2018 has taken me by surprise over and over again. It has taken me to musical moments I thought I’d never witness and here is yet another one. Profane Omen did it. They reinvented their sound, they reinvented themselves, while keeping the core of their music still intact. The album surprised me with every song and every listen. Every time I hit replay, I would discover new transitions or notes that I enjoy. I feel myself stumbling without any kind of suggestions of what this album might lack or where this could improve.
Profane Omen always knew that the buildup is the most important part of the song. That’s what they do in here again. Combining this with their catchy choruses and their cleverly chosen melodies, intricate hooks and fast, pulsing rhythms makes this a groovy, melodic and even majestic album. Bold decisions, much more progressive and a little something for everyone. This album once again is proof that I really need to carefully think about my end of the year list, because the competition for album of the year just got another fierce participant.