I like to think that Australian music is different, baked by a bigger sun. I cannot say I know much about Australian metal bands, but the few I have heard are bloody impressive, and look, we have a marvelous example right here. If you allow me, I’d like to tell you about Our Last Enemy, and their latest album Pariah, about how I was not impressed at first only to be blown away from subsequent spins, about this blend of shredding and tricky guitars with heavy drums and a gritty devilish voice, about how they woke up once again my curiosity for brutal metal, and how this album reminded me that everything is better and tastier when it is made down under.
Yes, this is a fangirl review.
Our last Enemy is an industrial metal band with hints of almost everything you can think is proper add. Formed around 2006, in Sydney, Australia, Our Last Enemy has enjoyed their last album Fallen Empires going # 1 on the iTunes Metal Chart in their native country, The lineup is currently comprised of Oliver Fogwell on vocals, Craig Byrnes on keyboards/effects, Matt Heywood on bass, Bryce ‘Bizz’ Bernius on guitars, and Zot Cillia on drums. To be completely honest, I am really surprised that this band is just five guys, because they sound like myriad monsters. Bizz was once a member of Genitorturers, a visual metal band (isn’t that interesting?), that also featured Morbid Angel’s David Vincent; he relocated Down Under to join Our Last Enemy. Pariah, is the band’s second and highly anticipated full album, produced by Christian Olde Wolbers, formerly of Fear Factory.
Just because I want you to know, I’ll tell you that “our last enemy”, according to the bible, is death. “It represents the duality of life and death.” the band said about its name, and I can understand why, death may be a friend or foe, it all depends of how you face it. I would imagine that Our Last Enemy, aims to be death, a symbol of a breaking point, which is an end and a start at the same time. In fact, that’s the feeling I get when listening to this album. Overall, Pariah could be very well the soundtrack of any apocalyptic, end of the world, Oh-no-we-are-all-going-to-die movie and at the same time it would be perfect for one of those delicious, low cost and obscure horror film ala The Blair Witch Project, you know, one of those cult movies that are so real that you have nightmares for a week. Yes, industrial metal never sounded so true and evil.
The album opens with Devour the Sun, one of the more solid songs of the whole album that delivers tons of double bass drumming, and shows that Zot takes zealous joy in literally tearing down his whole drumming kit. Chugga chugga guitars. and an ardent synth pouring darkness all over. Violent, brutal, complex, catchy and still caring about the artistic beauty of their compositions, the 16 tracks bring hints of different metal styles, mostly thrashy riffs with great hooks, groovy and catchy rhytms, a virulent and visceral voice and some sick songwriting, everything sounding so intricate and fits so well that it is just too fabulous to ignore.
10000 Headless Horses, a song that has been in a previous EP and was released with a video back in 2011 but just now is included in a full album, and that is also featured in the Rock Band video game, brings some seriously scary keyboards, and guitars are sometimes similar to Slipknot, but not quite really; this is much more rich and thankfully, it lacks of clean vocals. It almost looks like the band intentionally did all this cryptic songwriting just to play with our minds, surprising you every 10 seconds with an unexpected riff or some seriously sick drumwork. This material is so solid and diverse that it feels like ten albums in one, releasing new adventures at every listen and growing inside like a weed, but not bad weed, more like that kind of weed that leaves you wordless when you smoke it.
Now, one of these two is my favorite, but I just can’t decide which one, Pariah BC and Pariah AD are so good that I can’t even find words to explain it to the fullest. First one is maybe the greatest display of atmospheric instrumentation I’ve heard in the album so far, bringing some kind of almost indiscernible noise that gets inevitably in your head and stays there while the main riff affirms itself little by little in your brain. Pariah AD is more like an enjoyable and dark ride that invites you, I correct, it forces you to mosh like a mother… errr… like a mother.
I’ll just put it this way, if eargasms really exist, I’ve found here a never-failing source. Another song worth metioning is Ants in the Palm, that starts with a tasty bass riff that pulls you off of the hypnosis of the previous tracks in a jiffy, raises you and catapults you to a whole different place, taking a musical U-turn. And let’s not forget the last three songs, that are nothing less and nothing more than the remixed versions of Internus Diabulus Verni, Devour the Sun and Pariah AD, all these new structures, scratched guitars, odd percussion, “noises” and audio effects succesfully manage to capture the songs essence and to sound like a whole new composition at the same time. You know that feeling when something is so wrong that feels so right? Well, I’m feeling that right now…
They simply have all what it takes to be big. Sinister vocals that sound like a hybrid of Marilyn Manson, Jonathan Davis and Phil Anselmo. Dynamic thrashy riffs, mesmerizing and ubiquitous keys, beasty bass work, deep lyrics and a sick drummer that beats his whole drum kit as if his life depended on it, all worked through cryptical songwriting that takes the listener on a savage ride through their music. Our Last Enemy doesn’t ask your permission to kindly make love to your ears, they simply rape them violently, blending the violence of extreme metal, the complexity of progressive, the catchy feeling of hard rock, and the intensity of industrial and even techno music; creating a dark imagery and taking it to a whole new level with the tasty guitar solos and that gritty evil voice. Our Last Enemy is gonna be big, I really believe that. So if you get into them now, and you manage to be close and can possibly attend to one of their shows, and most important, if you buy the bloody album, I’ll give this signed to you, in a couple of years you’re going to be proud of knowing them from when they were still young and obscure.