Holy Roar Records/Shock
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
It only seems like yesterday that I was pleasantly surprised by Ohhms’ debut two track release titled Bloom. There were a lot of styles coming together on that release and it worked very, very well. They way that this Kent (U.K.) quintet made sense of those stylistic collisions made the release all the more interesting and their future brighter. It was one of the highlights of 2014 for sure and it as well as piquing my interest for their next effort, it also set the bar fairly high early on. I was surprised to see another release from them so soon, though. The end result could be one of “they rushed it and bombed it” or “they were on a roll and nailed it”. When you couple that with my expectations, the end result could go either way very quickly.
There’s a couple of commonalities here between Cold and Bloom. The single word title, the total number of tracks on record, and the styles represented. That’s about where the similarities end though. Cold is very different to the debut yet it feels the same. This time around, things are a lot darker on record, and if anything, that’s reflected in the EP’s name as well. It’s not as accessible as Bloom is, that’s for sure. It is however, slightly more ambitious.
Cold contains a lot more atmosphere and even more experimentation which makes it even more interesting. “The Anchor” is clearly the heavier of the two tracks. Lumbering riffs at times deliver a towering, imposing wall of noise behind vocalist Paul Waller’s powerful bark. There’s plenty of doom and sludge mixed with ‘70’s prog and atmosphere and stoner as well to keep this eighteen and a half minute monster interesting. The flip side, B-side, second track - whatever you want to call it - is an even more adventurous change of pace for Ohhms. When it really kicks into gear, two and a bit minutes after the echoey guitar intro, it’s every bit as harsh and heavy as anything else Ohhms has done before. It flip flops from wandering gently to thundering with an almighty roar. “Dawn of the Swarm” unleashes dense textures and patterns driven by thick guitars and bass. There’s still room for groove as well mid way through as the track takes yet another turn on what is a truly amazing musical journey.
The second outing from Ohhms is equally impressive as their debut. In fact, it’s just that little bit better. It’s more adventurous, it’s more dynamic. Clearly, Ohhms are evolving and at the same time, slowly revealing themselves musically. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m eager to see where they go from here.