Review: OHHMS ‘Close’

It’s June 2020, we’ve just endured months of lockdown, thanks to a killer virus, and the world seems to have lost its mind somewhat, so what do we need to bring us hope? OHHMSOHHMS is what we need. And boy did they churn out an absolute belter of an album, to help cure us of our woes.

OHHMS ‘Close’

I’m sure you all know of OHHMS already, but for those of you who don’t, here’s a little history lesson to bring you up to speed. OHHMS are the mind-numbing progressive sludge crew from the mean streets of Thanet, in the UK, and they’ve been pounding the heavy music scene, like a bunch of savages, for a number of years now. They’ve played some incredible shows, and been on the bill at some of the coolest festivals that the more discerningmetal enthusiast might wish to attend.

And well, they’re back!! And it couldn’t be at a better time.

Close is the new long player, and it’s the final installment of a trilogy which began with Bloom in 2014, and was followed by Cold in 2015. They’ve been busy making their mark ever since, having released some fantastic music along the way, with The Fool and Exist being parts of that catalogue too.

With all that’s come before, the evolution of OHHMS is impressive, never ones to rest on their laurels, they continue to evolve and adapt with every new release, and Close finds them as antagonistic as ever.

Right from opener Alive! there’s a feeling of confidence and swagger about this new album by the Kent five piece. It opens in a far more ambient way then I am used to with OHHMS, but this doesn’t last long.It’s shattered by a thunder of drums and a gut-wrenching statement from meister Waller ‘I’M BORN! BORN WIRED’, and instantly we know what we are in for, after all, this is OHHMS, some things don’t need playing with, they’re already perfect.

It’s a fast paced assault, with driving drums, chaotic guitar, and that sublime rumbling bass, synonymous with their sound, courtesy of Max Newton, Stuart Day, Marc Prentice, and Chainy Rabbit, who lurk confidently behind front man, and mouthpiece for the band, the one and only Paul Waller.

As we continue through the album, there are moments of peace and ambience, a chance for reflection between the chaos of the slabs of ferocity, and these are welcome when they come. By track three, Revenge, we are firmly buckled in for the ride. It’s brutal, but considered, and it’s wonderfully thought provoking.

From having witnessed seeing OHHMS perform live, and knowing the intensity they bring on stage, when I close my eyes, I can picture the energy being thrown about within the room during the recording of this track in particular.It’s all consuming, and needs playing LOUD for maximum effect.

It’s a fast paced assault, with driving drums, chaotic guitar, and that sublime rumbling bass, synonymous with their sound…

Revenge, in contrast, unfolds like a play in three acts, there are moments to stop and catch a breath, before we are thrown face first back in to the action. Throughout the track you can feel it coming, as it builds and builds, there’s the expectation and suspense, in anticipation for the next burst of action.

((Strange Ways)) is a somber interlude, setting the scene for track five, Destroyer. This is as close to a single release as the band would need to put out, this is OHHMS 2020, evolved, yet still very much OHHMS. It’s a real bruiser of a track, playing to the bands signature powerhouse sound, its intense yet thought provoking at the same time…’There is no god, there’s only gods’, powerful stuff.

Asylum is an absolute face melter, a surging, throbbing belter. From opening line ‘Who wants some?’ it’s clear there is something coming, and it’s coming our way. There’s even an instantly memorable chant thrown in for good measure, definitely something to look out for at future live events. ‘They’re coming to take us away, they’re going to do this again’, and I for one can already picture it being reverberated at live shows, then once things open back up, and we can catch OHHMS in the flesh again.

Album closer Unplugged is somewhat of a dark horse. Whenever I see the word ‘Unplugged’ I instantly think of those infamous MTV specials from thenineties, of Nirvana and Alice In Chains, and acoustic warbling’s spring to mind. This is not going to be one of those instances, after all, this isn’t a grunge outfit from back in the day, this is OHHMS, pure and simple. There’s a lovely parallel at play on this piece, there are moments of full on assault, split with interludes of emotional ambience, and it finishes off the album perfectly.

Close, for me, really encapsulates a band who have really evolved and adapted, have embraced change, and have arrived at a plateau that perfectly fit’s where they should be.

Previous releases have hinted towards the here and now version of OHHMS 2020, through their evolution on record, and it’s not so much a single step forward from previous release Exist, as it is much more a leap, and it’s really going to propel them on to the next level, which will definitely give some of the bigger bands a run for their money.

Especially in some cases, where they’ve rested on their laurels for too long, and have become complacent, something you can’t say of OHHMS. This multi layered opus should definitely show those bands that there’s a ferocious beast snarling at their heels, and that beast is OHHMS.

As stated in Asylum ‘It’s too late, too late, they’re coming and they’re pounding at the door.’… What’s that sound? It’s OHHMS, they’ve arrived, and they are here to claim your soul.

Label: Holy Roar Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish