Debut of the Year: OMB’s “SwineSong”


It’s a well known fact that the best things are always kept for the end. But luckily, we are here talking about the beginning of something (hopefully) awesome. That something is actually the career of this Israeli avant-prog band Omb.

There has been quite a lot head-bashing in which category to place this record. It is based on my own perception of the band’s music to categorize them under the avant-prog label, as the band itself mentions avantgarde and progressive genres as their two constitutive elements. After spent hours of listening to “SwineSong”, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the albums that could be considered as the saviors of the progressive metal genre in 2013. From all the albums that could be counted on the fingers of one hand, it was exactly “SwineSong” that met the full criteria for being the genre’s messiah. And that includes following:

  • rhythm
  • melody
  • harmony
  • tempo
  • dynamics
  • timbre
  • textures
  • form

And what counts as an important factor here is not the presence of the itemized elements, but the harmony and thread that connects them. I was lucky to be able to follow the response of both media and fans on this record and it’s very good that “SwineSong” received polarized critics from both camps. But in general, there is a consensus that this album is one of the weirdest (if not the weirdest) albums released in 2013. That should definitely be taken in a positive context.

In his review of the album on Prog Archives, my colleague Conor Fynes describes the band as “[...] Omb does for avant-garde metal what Quentin Tarantino did for film,” and that’s something this music confirms. It shines in all its unpredictability, making it more interesting as the time passes by.

The technical aspect of the record is undeniably at a high level due to the experience of the band members in different projects and bands, but what really makes the difference here is vocal performance by singer Davidavi Dolev. With vocals ranging from growls to clean  to whispers and beyond, his contribution to “SwineSong” is crucial.

There are no many albums that succeed in mixing seemingly incompatible elements. Omb’s “SwineSong” is one of these rarities and therefore it deserves to be hailed as one of the best records released in 2013, but also in last few years. It will be interesting to hear what comes next. Until then, let this be your swinesong.

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Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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