Omotai: Fresh Hell

Texan rockers leave their mark in the sludge/psych slipstream

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Think Mastodon have become too radio-friendly? Lost it with Baroness after they sailed off in a ship made of pretension? Like Unsane? Then you could pick up far worse things this month than Fresh Hell.

On Omotai’s sophomore effort the Houston, Texas-hailing noise mongrels brandish the same sort of dense, riff-follows-riff-follows-riff approach of First- and Second-era Baroness, yet deliver it not with sludgy undertones, but with the sort of control-on-the-verge-of-chaos that has always marked out Unsane.

Tracks like opener Get Your Dead Straight, and the scabrous and angular Laser Addict, which somehow also manage to drift painfully into a warped moment of Kylesa-like psych metal, grapple both a palpable sense of unhinged danger and oddly infectious groove. Yet it’s during the likes of the brilliantly titled Giant Pygmy or the comparatively straightforward closer We Don’t Have To Be Strangers that see the quartet most successfully homogenise their heaviest and most disparate influences into a more cohesive, less Mastodon-y whole.

Not particularly fresh, then, but certainly pretty fucking hellish.