*** Go to our YouTube channel in the link below to see the video review of this record in episode #24 of the SBR Album of the Week.
Omega Infinity released their debut album at the height of the Covid-19 world panic in March 2020. Their mystical black metal journey through the solar system seemed appropriate for those unique times of fear and foreboding, yet they also had the successor record ready to go before Australia’s draconian quarantine regime prevented Ne Obliviscaris vocalist, Xenoyr, from entering the recording booth. As the brainchild of German multi-instrumentalist, Tentakel P. (Todtgelichter), the duo knew they had a sequel that needed to be heard, and they now present The Anticurrent in its awesome glory after two years of delays and conflicting schedules. This is an audio siege that will suck you in and spit you out like a monumental abyss.
People call Omega Infinity’s art “void metal”, and that might be the most accurate term to describe the destructive power of their music. Album opener, ‘The Alpha’, starts like a down-tuned piece of prog metal with little concept of time coordination. Syncopated guitars spew from the speakers like geysers of molten lava; drums circle around the distortion with no concern for holding a regular beat; layers of hysterical wailing permeate through the channels; discordant pianos play out of key. You discern a succession of intelligible words at the three-minute mark before the drums accelerate into blast beats and the guitars implode into a wall of vaporising noise. It’s a relief when the vortex swallows you into its embrace and the light at the end of the cycle appears once more with a soothing uplift of cascading synthesisers.
The absurd violence of ‘Creation’ aligns with the human imagination of the big bang. Drums and guitars compete against each other at the speed of sound. Agonising shrieks emanate from the other side of the swirling stargate. Beyond the creator God, this monumental event is all we have to explain the origins of our universe. However unsatisfactory it may be, it reduces us to one indisputable thing – we are but specks of dust in this cosmos. Your ears will try in vain to identify purposeful rhythms, but the chaos is shapeless. The ethereal menace of ‘Iron Age’ attempts to do things with guitars that would not occur to most musicians. Listen how the brutish downward stabbing motion produces a stubborn melody underneath the crumbling edifice of constant rhythm. Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Wings of Plague adds an epitaph of contralto musings in the moments of calm. Few artists beyond Blut Aus Nord would even think to find melody in this type of harsh vacuum.
Fifty-seven minutes of mega distortion and inhumane drums could lose potency once the inevitable descent towards planetary extinction becomes clear. ‘Banish Us from Eden’ feels like a remix of an industrial black metal song with additional layers of static and Einstürzende Neubaten power tool effects. Chaos is the order. What you can find in the woe of this unsheltered existence is worth clinging to like a temporary reprieve from catastrophe. The cataclysmic black metal of ‘To the Stars’ gives way to a sparkle of celestial synth loops. You can appreciate the harsh vocals in these moments of floating bliss.
At times, you’ll hear the incorporeal death metal of Portal in this music. Australian industrialists, The Amenta, are another group that operate in a similar paradigm. Maybe Anaal Nathrakh as well. It seems trivial to reduce this unfolding audio apocalypse to comparative artists when the experience is so overwhelming. But the cerebral mind takes comfort in imposing order on chaos. ‘Death Rays’ recreates Emperor’s adrenaline fuelled onslaught from their 2001 swansong album but adds psychedelic synth rotations and a coquettish spoken-word cameo from ex-Cradle of Filth keyboardist, Lindsay Schoolcraft. The guitar distortion roars at you like the vacuum of a hoover as it tries to demolish a stubborn object that will not capitulate.
You can survive the digital purgatory of ‘Voices from the End of Time’ if you let the music lead you towards the void. András Nagy of Hungarian black metallers, Sear Bliss, provides the vocals for this audio cyclone. Here, you feel the muscle behind the violence until it slows down at the six-minute mark to the pace of a person catching their breath after dodging a high-speed train. A cacophony of voices repeats the name of the song title over a furnace cooker of hostile sounds. There’s no shame in being afraid. You can abort at track seven and ignore the two cover songs at the end (‘Night Journey by Sear Bliss and ‘Ye Entrancemperium’ by Emperor).
The Anticurrent asks the important question: How do you make sense of your impending demise in the context of the universe and the millions of years that preceded your existence? No ego can survive the thought that it’s all for nothing. Omega Infinity’s music is your chance to reconcile with that reality.
Release Date: 24/02/2023
Record Label: Season of Mist
Standout tracks: The Alpha, Iron Age, Death Rays
Suggested Further Listening: Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses (2022), Emperor – Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise (2001), MYNSKH – Chapter 01: Obliterating Perfection (2020)