Album Review :
Onward to Olympas - This World Is Not My Home

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Artist: Onward to Olympas
Album: This World Is Not My Home
Label: Facedown Records
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. Unstoppable
  2. Enemies
  3. Don’t Cry to Me
  4. Her Best Words Were Goodbye
  5. Overcoming
  6. Sink or Swim
  7. Awake in a Dream
  8. Presence at the Funeral
  9. The Lost Generation
  10. This World Is Not My Home

Welcome Onward to Olympas, a new metalcore band out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Their debut, This World Is Not My Home features a good amount of trademarks for the genre that fans will know and love. For some people that may not sound too promising, but I can easily say Onward to Olympas perform them at a high level to keep the experience entertaining. The guitar sweeps and solos are beautifully done and placed at the right moments in a song instead of seeming tacked on. The clean vocals are catchy and help serve to make the songs memorable. The breakdowns are often brutally heavy, coming in with a sudden crash of bass and guitars. All things we’ve heard a thousand times before but when a band can excel at them to make it almost seem fresh and, at the very least, enjoyable then they are on the right track.

I particularly enjoyed the guitar riff in ‘Don’t Cry to Me’ and ‘Presence at the Funeral’. It’s not all about chugging along while providing as much distortion or blast beats as possible to give an illusion of heaviness. One of the strengths of Onward to Olympas is their ability to fuse melody into their heavier tendencies. They show off their impressive technical side with a few well timed guitar solos like in ‘The Lost Generation’ and the aforementioned ‘Presence at the Funeral’ among others. If there were one band I’d say these guys sound like it would be August Burns Red. That’s both from the technical angle as well as the overall sound of the screaming and breakdowns. The big thing for me is they have one thing I feel August Burns Red needs. That would be the impressive singing used often throughout the album.

Speaking of those clean vocals, ‘Sink or Swim’ has the best set of them along with the closing title track. Screaming is definitely center stage but when the clean vocals are used they are among the best I have heard in the genre. They aren’t whiny or too high-pitched and often compliment the music extremely well. As for the screaming, usually it’s a deeper growl and every now and then they change things up with some higher screams to keep the listener off balance. Gang vocals are occasionally used too, but thankfully they aren’t overused. A lot of bands in the genre tend to do that and, if they don’t have a solid singer, the songs can sound too similar from one track to the next. Fortunately, Onward to Olympas doesn’t run into this problem as often and it makes for a more enjoyable experience overall. I also have to add that in the last half of the closing track it turns into one of the most beautiful melodies I’ve heard on an album like this. It was unexpected and a great way to end the album.

Alright, the singing and screaming are top notch, so what are they trying to say? There is no doubt these lyrics are the type that will be fun to shout out and scream at a live show when chaos erupts. ‘Unstoppable’ is one of those types of songs with lyrics that take a combative stance against evil and the devil, even going so far as to challenge him since they are ‘with the one who died for me’. Earlier in the song there’s a brutal breakdown where vocalist Kramer Lowe screams ‘bring forth the masses’, sure to cause a riot at a show. All in all the lyrics have a strong base in their faith and while they never directly mention God by name there are plenty of references. Again, nothing exactly groundbreaking for this genre but far from horrible too.

Overall: While the music on This World Is Not My Home may be far from original, they perform everything so strongly that it’s hard not to enjoy it if you’re a fan. The sweeps and solos get me every time and it also helps a great deal that I’m able to differentiate each song because of them. This is definitely an album for those who love guitars and so long as you don’t go into it expecting your mind blown or your life changed you’ll come out fully entertained. If you aren’t a fan of the genre this album then this band isn’t going to change your mind on that. Time will tell where they go from here and how long they can last. For now, Onward to Olympas have released one of the better albums in the genre in recent memory.

Gems of this album are: ‘The Lost Generation’, ‘Presence at the Funeral’, ‘Unstoppable’, ‘This World Is Not My Home’

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