Genre: Death metal, Progressive metal
Sounds Like: Death, Gojira, Amorphis
What makes Ontological Mysterium elite and sit atop OHMs Peak?
Prog-death metal wizards, Horrendous have delivered their finest release to date. Ontological Mysterium is THE album to test the range of your speakers. A sonic masterpiece that with brilliant clarity and deep wild layers of bass and texture
The Philadelphia quartet continue their outside the box death metal thinking. Diving deeper into the progressive realm of pinpoint mechanics and wild contrast
This trip encompasses 9 songs hovering just over 37 minutes. The soundscape is far from your typical death metal album as they wallop you with crisp precision and wild trajectories from "The Blaze" onward. Horrendous’ ability to weave progressive towering fretwork with such percussive clarity and depth is truly one of a kind
Horrendous have also dramatically improved on the vocals since what originally attracted us back in 2014 with their hardcore laced release Ecdysis. We love the fact that Ontological Mysterium packs in so much in under 40 minutes… no meandering progressive metal jams, just the perfect melding of multiple metal genres positioned uniquely amongst its peers
1. The Blaze 1:59
2. Chrysopoeia (The Archaeology of Dawn) 7:15
3. Neon Leviathan 3:29
4. Aurora Neoterica 1:55
5. Preterition Hymn 3:57
6. Cult of Shaad'oah 5:23
7. Exeg(en)esis 3:37
8. Ontological Mysterium 4:43
9. The Death Knell Ringeth 5:17
Dive deeper into Ontological Mysterium with our Q&A with Horrendous
OHMs Peak: Over the last few albums, and in particular with this latest release, we have seen your sound evolve into more of a progressive edge and cleaner production. We are loving the dramatic contrast and new vision. Can you take us through the development of your sound?
Horrendous: I think the band is always on a journey forward. We’re constantly trying to push our art into new directions and uncover what we think the most ‘perfect’ vision of the band is. I always like to think of it as the sculpture hiding within a block of marble; each record for us is a further whittling away of the stone. For us, this record was the next logical step in our evolution. We wanted to maintain our progressive elements while also streamlining them–without sacrificing any depth, of course–into more digestible and enjoyable pieces. We felt that some of the more complex material on Idol intruded on the listener’s ability to fully connect with and feel the music, and we wanted to remedy that this time around.
OHMs Peak: Is there a story behind Ontological Mysterium. The songs and album title are very unique and highly intriguing?
Horrendous: The album didn’t begin with any concept. We typically let inspiration call to us when writing lyrics, following that voice wherever it leads. While one might think this could result in a lack of focus to the lyrical concepts, we always find that it has the opposite effect; there seems to be some invisible thread that binds our ideas together. For this album in particular, most themes centered around the need to overcome or transform. Whereas Idol tended to focus on oppressive forces, and was in many ways a cry for liberation from them, OM is more about self evolution and reclaiming our agency to change our circumstances.
OHMs Peak: 'Chrysopoeia (The Archaeology of Dawn)' is probably one of the most innovative songs we have ever heard. Take us through the idea and intent behind this masterpiece.
Horrendous: I would say the opening riff came to me first, and everything else flowed from that point. It was one of those riffs that sounded ‘big,’ with an energy that was urgent and desperate with a hint of melancholy. As with all of our songs, we followed the comet’s tail that this riff left for us and let it unfold. I think it took the longest to write, and had probably about 3-5 different iterations before it was finally complete. If memory serves me correctly, I think this song actually existed in its infancy since before Idol was released; it just wasn’t ready at the time to consider using it on that record.
OHMs Peak: Would love to hear a bit about this latest album art, as usual you guys do not disappoint, both visually and sonically?
Horrendous: As always, we don’t give our artist Brian Smith too much input on the front end of things. We give him themes and color palette ideas but subsequently set him loose to ‘feel’ and interpret the music as he pleases. We find that letting him have full autonomy over his creative process produces the best results! For this record, we interpret the cover as a representation of the evolution of our sound (perhaps of death metal as a whole!), with the left-most skull representing the simpler, more ‘old school’ sound of the band. As the image continues, the skull transforms into a much more developed and singular face–that of a demon, perhaps. We see this as the most current state of the band; unafraid to flaunt our individual quirks and sound. Beneath the faces is the hint of a trail wandering into a hellscape, initiating the listener on their own journey of transformation.
OHMs Peak: Horrendous is stranded on an island with only a solar powered record player. The entire band must agree to only 1 album to have during your stay… what album is it?
Horrendous: Ha! I would have to say Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses. All of us got deep into that record at the same time on our very first tour together. I bought the CD at amoeba music in San Francisco and played it that night after the gig. We all had so much fun listening to the album that it became a nightly ritual of sorts to hear the record after each gig.
Damian Herring - Guitar, vocals
Jamie Knox - Drums
Matt Knox - Guitar, vocals
Alex Kulick - Bass
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