By: Kyle Rutherford
What happens when you mix nautical themed lyrics with heavy metal guitar licks, funky bass slaps, and trippy electronics? Well, you probably could have guessed by this article’s title, so I guess the answer is Omnisquid by lespecial. These Bostonians have been able to break through the standard fluff we see in the electronic fused rock world and create something (le)special and definitely worth listening to time and time again.
If this is your first time being exposed to lespecial, perhaps you’ve been familiar with them without even knowing. Bassist Luke Bemand and drummer Rory Doland frequently collaborate with experimental bass producer Space Jesus for his live band experience that everyone saw this year at F.A.R.M. Fest, as well as with him and Supersillyus for their Schlang Worldwide Secret Band project.
Along with guitarist Jonathan Grusauskas, the trio creates music that sounds like the love child of Primus and Tool. Their nasty bass vibes and howling guitar shredding, fused with upbeat percussion and distorted electronic sounds creates a self proclaimed style called “death funk.” This fusion wavers between the soaring, progressive elements of jam rock, to the eerie and distorted dark sounds of metal.
Omnisquid is definitely a phenomenal embodiment of everything this band has become musically. The album begins with “Fruit Wolf Dance,” a tune the band has been playing out for over a year. It has a nice gradual beginning and has these Middle Eastern vibes similar to that of Consider the Source.
“Squid Rising” is definitely one of the cooler songs on the whole release. The instrumentals are on the more stripped down end of something you would hear from Dopapod, while the vocals are our first look into some obvious Primus influence. The band created radio broadcast samples that talk about fisherman’s boats being sunken by giant squids that were basically controlled by aliens, which coupled with some of the lyrics, the whole song itself is modern day pirate tale.
“Optimus Prime Slot” is a nice look into the band’s progressive metal influences. The vocals are dark and eerie, reminiscent of classics from Maynard James Keenan. The distorted drum samples complement the guitar licks very well, while the bass grooves on this one are pretty insane.
While most of the electronics on the record seem to be added for a stronger and fuller sound, “Sugaboi” really tries to showcase their electronica influence and skills. While the percussion is very uptempo, the electronics and vocal samplings are relaxed, heavily reverbed, and overall very similar to Papadosio’s “Snorkle.”
Something that is great to hear on the release is how they can showcase their entire sound all in one three minute song like “New Fish.” It begins very chilled out, with a nice Dopapod sound of gliding bass and layered guitar songs. Then out of nowhere comes a heavy metal breakdown with powerful guitars and quick drum kicks that nail you in the face, then subside almost as quickly as it begins.
“Pressed for Time” is another wonderful look into the band’s Primus influence. It sounds as if it a modern take on their classic “My Name is Mud,” with the same excellent guitar riffing, strong basslines, unique lyrics and even some added electronic elements.
To end the album, “Absolutely Stunning” is exactly that; absolutely stunning. The beautiful vocals give the track a very nice ballad feel, and it’s six and a half minute run time gives the instrumentals a lot of time to build in power. The guitar work is souring and the energy comes heavy and out of nowhere, very similar to “New Fish.” The tempo rises and falls interchangeably multiple times, and electronic outro samples the same radio broadcast as “Squid Rising.”
You’re definitely going to want to listen to this thing multiple times. Though a band for 10 years, it’s clear that when given enough ears, lespecial will soon be a band to be reckoned with across many scenes of music.
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