Obnosticon is a band from Austin, TX that I discovered about a year or two ago. I caught them live a few months ago (which was amazing) and when I was given a chance to review their self-titled ep I was excited. Rarely do I review bands that I am not familiar with. Besides seeing these guys live I have never listened to any of their studio stuff. Their sound is very in tune with more avant-garde acts with a good bit of rock and metal thrown in. They are definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum with lots of curve balls thrown in for good measure. So without further ado let’s get into this album.
- Walls of Blood – This song starts the album off with some weird chanting type vocals before guitars come ripping through with an off kilter solo and driving rhythm guitar. Carolyn “Squeak” Cremona’s vocals are front and center over the plodding metal guitar riffs. The song is pretty straight forward until the middle. The guitars take on a more sinister sound and it gives the band a little room to jam the fuck out. The brooding guitars continue to boil and bubble until they spill over with Squeak’s vocals joining for a little bit longer until the song reverts back to more weird voices as it closes out. Great opening song to set the tone. The guitars and instrumentation are unrelenting and straight up most of the song.
- Babyman – The second song begins with guitars that are a little slower than the first song, but the song has a little more groove to it. It also give’s Squeak a chance to flex her vocal range a little more. As the song title suggests it is about a “man” that burns his bridges and has to deal with the problems he caused coming home to roost. The guitars and instruments are pretty straight forward till about the middle of the song. In the middle they unleash a melodic break down that almost reminds me of some late 90’s Tool guitar work. Squeak also plays her clarinet over this break down which gives it another layer. After the break down Squeak belts out lyrics and sings her ass off as guitars swirl and solo around her to a galloping speed as the song fades out.
- Stable Genius – Song three is an ode to our commander and chief and starts out with a nice sound bite of the orange emperor himself. The guitars in this song seem to be a little more relaxed and in the background so the vocals and lyrics can be front and center. The guitars are very peaceful yet they have an ominous sound to them. I would say this is probably one of the more avant-garde sounding songs on the album compared to the other two. There is a lot of layering and interesting sounds on this song that go perfect with the dark lyrical content. This is also the first song where Mark Rodgers (guitar and vox) and Squeak trade off vocal duties through the whole track. The dual vocals work really great and set the mood. The song never gets heavy, but it keeps you engaged and uncomfortable almost like Trump calling himself a stable genius.
- Crimson Queen – This is the last original song on this ep and probably one of my favorite tracks on this ep. This song almost has a disco beat to it. The bass is heavy with this one. Again Squeak’s vocals really shine on this track and she has lots of room to do as she pleases. This song is not heavy instrument wise, but her lyrics are as dark as ever on this song. As the Crimson Queen destroys all those that oppose the instrumentation weaves and winds all over the place. There is almost a playful quality to this song of vengeance and death. I really like how the last two songs sound completely different than the first two. Towards the end of the song a little more guitar gets layered in as Squeak wails away. They end the song by blending in off beat guitars that start off all over the place and slowly wind down. Killer song.
- Sex Mad (Nomeansno Cover) Obnosticon finish out their ep by covering one of my favorite bands from Canada Nomeansno. Nomeansno are probably the closest thing punk rock has to something like Mr. Bungle. Anyways it makes perfect sense these guys and gal would cover this song. Their version seems a little bit heavier than the original version. Squeak’s vocal range is really what makes this song for me. Her vocals are all over the place and they sound great. The instrumentation is also top notch all around. The song is frantic and fast paced with a few slow parts here and there. They capture the disjointed feeling of this song perfectly. Nomeansno is not an easy band to pull off a cover, but Obnosticon did that and they did it well.
After seeing this band live and hearing some of their studio tracks all I can say is if you like punk, metal, industrial, or avant-garde type stuff give this band a listen. I really enjoy the dark and political messages in their lyrics and I like that they mix a bunch of styles of music into one cohesive sound. The multiple sounds on this album keep it fresh. Even with all the experimentation they stay focused. I never felt they were throwing different instruments or effects in just for the sake of having more stuff on a track. Obnosticon rock to their own beat and they slay live. Check out this record and catch one of their shows in Austin. You will not be disappointed.