The Amensal Rise
Released 12 May 2023
Mixed vocals

Omnerod – The Amensal Rise: This has all right to become a cult-classic

In a year marked by notable efforts to push the progmetal genre forward from prog-favorites Haken or the more polarizing Avenged Sevenfold, an unexpected force may emerge from the depths of the small country of Belgium. The size of their country being no indication of their sound, quite the contrary. Omnerod has the potential to make a significant impact on the genre. Even when compared to impressive releases like The World is Quiet Here's enormous Zon, it becomes evident that The Amensal Rise is poised to be a standout album on many end-of-year lists.
Omnerod presents an album of staggering magnitude, clocking in at nearly 70 minutes. The pressing question remains: does it provide enough breathing space? The answer to this inquiry is subjective and reliant upon each listener's preferences. Personally, I love being engulfed in the chaotic abyss every now and then. Nevertheless, it took considerable effort on my part to fully comprehend and harness the immense power of this opus. Following each complete playthrough, I found myself compelled to pause and reflect on the mind-bending journey I had just undertaken. Think of it like an exhilarating carnival ride: surely it can be fun, but enduring it for an entire lifetime certainly is not.
Since the release of this album, I often thought I unlocked all of its secrets. Confident that I had navigated every claustrophobic hallway, discovered every hatch, and uncovered every shortcut within this haunted house, I often felt as though my exploration had come to an end, just for another layered detail to rear its head like a weird disfigured clown smirking right at me. "Time for another ride" it repeated time and time again, almost mockingly.
Right from the start with "Sunday Heat" you get the impression that this might not be the easiest listen of your life. The Belgians show no mercy to those who approach it with such expectations; they hold steadfast to their distinctive style throughout. As if they want you to really question how you think of metal. Metal, you say? Yes, this album has an abundance of extreme metal elements, encompassing everything from jagged technical death metal segments to groove-laden djent riffage for the boys. However, these elements are skillfully interwoven at lightning speed, defying conventional expectations and giving rise to a style that is difficult to categorize. Dare we bring in the term "avant-garde" here?

Omnerod proves they have a very unique look at how to construct music, often bringing to mind the experimental tendencies of vintage prog rock pioneers like ELP and King Crimson. Yet, sonically it sits somewhere on the same shelf as Between the Buried and Me and Devin Townsend. Weirdly enough I never really imagined those two sitting on the same shelf, so I guess Omnerod just created that one and singlehandedly put those influences on there.

This entire album looms over you like an unrelenting tornado that refuses to decelerate. And even on the rare occasions when it momentarily eases its pace, as seen in tracks like "Spore," it does so only to unveil its awe-inspiring beauty, gradually exposing its deep-rooted influences from jazz and classical music.
The Amensal Rise stands out as one of the most ambitious releases of the year, and it wholeheartedly fulfills that promise. Embracing a style that can only be described as uniquely their own (prog death dark opera metal?), Omnerod has bestowed upon us a work that may still elude our complete comprehension but is undeniably destined to endure for years to come. Even though it may not appeal to the regular progmetal John, I firmly believe we have just borne witness to the birth of a future cult classic.

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