Ommatidia – In This Life, Or The Next

When British music journalist Andrew Harrison coined the phrase “landfill indie”, he was brilliantly expressing the glut of identikit guitar based rock bands filling up the airwaves with their often tuneless dirge, reedy vocals and bedwetting lyricism.

At some point, someone needs to do the same for heavy metal: as much as I love this genre, it is rapidly becoming filled with piles and piles of deriviative, tuneless and pointless records that are not worthy of your precious time and effort. Scrap Metal anyone?

Consider the debut album from French metal outfit Ommatidia. Their new record, In This Life, or the Next is a great case in point. It’s all fairly listenable but all very forgettable at the same time. There are lots of ideas here but none of them really work and there’s a level of trying everything in the hope that some stuff will stick and resonate. There are some things that do but not enough to sustain or inspire. You know when you’ve eaten a huge Chinese meal but feel incredibly hungry very soon afterwards? That’s exactly what I felt after listening to this.

The perfunctory, “atmospheric” opening track Only Found By Those Who Seek is treads a fine line between inspiration and parody. Starspeed is much better, reminiscent of early Pearl Jam (no bad thing) with a decent riff and dynamic that promises a decent amount.

Some Commotion has a nu-metal feel about it but it’s not the high energy, grab-you-by-the-throat stuff you’re hoping for. No, it’s the ponderous ever-so-slightly self-important dirgey stuff that no one really liked the first time round; they aren’t going to like it now, either. Leaning on Complete Affinity wants to be the album’s epic track but it’s far too clunky and hamfisted to be anything other than a “yes, I can see the joins actually” metal by numbers effort.

Unaffected by Loss tries to ingratiate itself and has one or two decent ideas but not enough to hold your attention sufficiently long enough for you to want to revisit this record time and again- which is surely the whole point of this enterprise called making music, isn’t it?

Naked Truth has some charm and some genuinely effective atmospherics but it all comes a little too late in the day. It’s as if the band have taken 40 mins or so to discover that what they really want to sound like isn’t actually anything like the previous eight songs you’ve just sat through. It’s all a little weird, to be honest.

I would sincerely love to hate, loathe and despise this record- if I did, I could write a steaming pile of vitriol that probably would be reasonably amusing to read but wouldn’t get us anywhere. As it is, I don’t hate this record- there’s not a lot to hate. However, there’s not a lot to like either.

Written by Mat Davies

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