Review: Omnibadger ‘Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III’

Stoke-On-Trent to non-UK residents is a city famous for its manufacture of pottery, and well-known public figures that include TV presenter Nick Hancock and multiple World Darts champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. On a musical front it’s the birthplace of the late Lemmy from Motörhead, home to d-beat pioneers Discharge, sludge metallers Charger and Saul Hudson, aka Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses, who lived there as a child, a fact that never fails to amuse me for some reason.

Omnibadger 'Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III'
Omnibadger ‘Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III’ Artwork

Also from Stoke are the oddly named Omnibadger, a duo comprising Phil Malpass (electronics, guitar, vocals) and Jase Kester (electronics, percussion, vocals). Adding to the peculiarity, the album’s title, Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III, is in fact the band’s second album, highlighting both their offbeat sense of humour and an innate desire to fuck with conventions.

Lick One opens the album with harsh static and dark ambience in the spirit of Cabaret Voltaire with some afro-beat flourishes added to the mix, making for what is a brilliant, if rather unnerving, start to the album. At well over thirteen minutes Speeding Ground (Part 1) with its whining electro buzz and motorik drumming is a sprawling epic that reminds one of traffic cone era Kraftwerk, a period which has been virtually stalinized by the band but loved by the likes of me. Add in some gut-wrenching screams and you have a track right after my own heart.

But What I Want Is Not The Important Thing Right Now despite its verbose title, is a musically more structured and succinct track with tendencies towards heavyweight noise-rock such as Big Black and the Butthole Surfers (Locust Abortion Technician from the latter especially). It’s a fun listen which inspires one to jam the aforementioned band’s records, after you are done with Omnibadger of course.

a smörgåsbord of pain and fury…

If you thought Surfin’ had anything to with hanging ten, making the drop and Jan and Dean then prepare to be bitterly disappointed. Instead, you’ll be met with a slab of hard-hitting industrial Killing Joke/Swans inspired nastiness, which in parts recalled the former band’s track Madness, and as a huge fan of both, this pleased me no end.

F I X with its deliciously demented dark synthwave/post-punk stylings taps into underrated and overlooked late ‘70s/early ‘80s bands such as Factrix while You Never Tell Me What You Think is possibly the grooviest track on the album with a danceable beat and a cool vibe that has me thinking of Land Of Rape And Honey period Ministry before Uncle Al discovered Slayer. If it can inspire rhythmically challenged people like myself to hit the floor in an effort to appear momentarily fashionable, then there’s hope for readers of this review to strut their stuff on the dance-floor too.

Equations For A Falling Body features punishing noise, intermittent drums, screams and everything in between, a smörgåsbord of pain and fury. If Lustmord, Gridfailure, Whitehouse and SPK get you hot and bothered, you’ll positively adore this number. The track is demonstrative of the band’s ability to beautifully balance moments of sheer sonic absorption, like we have here, and the first couple of tracks with a more ‘conventional’ fare, making for what is in turn an ideal conclusion to the album.

Cruel Nature Records have nailed it yet again by introducing me to yet another quality band and album. The great thing about what Omnibadger have achieved here is there isn’t a moment when you find yourself distracted, or bored because there’s enough going on, creatively and artistically, to keep you perpetually curious as to what to expect next. A superb release. 

Label: Cruel Nature Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills