Only three weeks into the new year, and Facedown Records have released just as many albums. The label has been on a roll lately, signing several new artists to their roster and pumping out music left and right. Saving Grace and Shapes Stars Make were the first from the Facedown gate in 2010 (on sister labels Strike First Records and Dreamt Music, respectively), accompanied by Onward To Olympas. These guys have a monster hardcore album by the name of This World Is Not My Home, and it seems as if it will be a great way to get their career with the label started.
Most artists from Facedown are good in their own rights, yet a lot of them generally can't be told apart from each other. Onward To Olympas isn't entirely different from their labelmates, but they have something that the others don't. The growling seems to be cut from the same cloth, but Kramer Lowe doesn't stick to just the growls and grunts. His screaming can sometimes even be compared to Living Sacrifice's Bruce Fitzhugh (which I know isn't too dramatic of a change, but at least he's experimenting). There's also a great amount of guitar work that strays from the metal riffs and power chords. "Her Best Words Were Goodbye" features a beautiful guitar solo at about the halfway point that nicely melts back into a series of riffs. The close of the song segues into "Overcoming," featuring a fantastic show of drumming ability - courtesy of Matt Burnside - and then consists of several quick pace changes within the first minute of the song, none of which sound anything close to sloppy or forced or anything.
This World Is Not My Home, musically, is mostly a combination of speed metal and underground hardcore, with a bit more technical playing than what you might expect from a combination like that. Another thing they add to the mix - something that other Facedown artists could probably pull off - is the usage of melodic vocals. The band does make good use of gang vocals (without overusing them), but they also have Justin Gage providing clean singing at times. A highlight of the album comes in "Presence At The Funeral," which features excellent musicianship (which includes another beautiful guitar solo) and Gage's singing perfectly complementing Lowe's screams during the chorus of the song.
What's somewhat unusual to hear in music from this genre is the ending that Onward To Olympas offers in the closing, title track. It ends on somewhat of a worshipful note, with a little bit of humility for good measure. "Say what you will but I'll still be standing, safe and secure. Undeservingly pure You've found me. Ignored Your call, I lost it all. Your grace abounds me. I give my life, guide me home, guide me home." It perfectly fits the message that you first get when you read the album's title, that this world isn't home, just the path to get there.
Since many metal fans are likely awaiting the new Living Sacrifice album next week, or even Demon Hunter's next album in March, and have already put back their money for it, it might be hard to justify spending some extra funds on a metal band you might not have heard of before. But rest assured, Onward To Olympas have an album on their hands that is definitely one of the best on all of Facedown. This World Is Not My Home may not take precedence over the other bands mentioned in this paragraph when their new projects are released, but it's definitely worthy of your attention and some listens.- Review date: 1/13/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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