The Swedish alternative rock band Omni of Halos released their self-titled debut LP on November 18th on Lövely Records with heavy swirling soundscapes whipped up by four guitars (one of them, unexpectedly, pedal steel), bass, moog, and relentless drums. The impact of their sound often brings the sensation of being caught in the eye of the storm, or tossed about in a maelstrom of guitar noise magic. The songs are moodily reflecting on the pain of human relationships or the shit state of the world, but within this spinning, glimmering wall of sound there is solid strength. Omni of Halos bring vulnerability and warrior ways all at once. And through all the ups and downs, they weave their own unique brand of rock—dense, complex, and fierce.
The opening track, “You Suck,” was one of my favorites. Immediately driving and urgent, the layers of guitars pulse with energy, as the pedal steel slinks around the edges, with Markuu Mulari exploding on the drums with some mind-blowing fills. “Yeah, you want to control me / Good luck with that / It’s gonna end bad,” Henrik Hjelt Röstberg sings, and indeed, with power like this coming at you, why would anyone try to control Omni of Halos? You can see the band working their magic (with so many amps) in the video for “You Suck”
Other standout tracks for me included “Care Free,” with its grungy grooves, masterfully driven by Kyle Pitcher on bass. “What made you think / That you could run away / From all that shit you created / And never looking back / Keep on running free / Care free from this world we’re living in.” As the lyrics reflect, there is no being care free in this messed up world anymore (if there ever was). The tension and disappointment build to a frenzy from the guitars, with the pedal steel from Daniel Levin cutting beautifully through the chaos. “Care Free” also has an exciting video that collages together footage of the band live, recording, and some very cool animation by Bianka Berggren.
“Crumbling to Pieces,” the first single from the album, takes the disillusionment with our post-modern mess to a fever pitch, featuring strong vocal harmonies from Röstberg and Gabriel Unsgaard as the band roils and rumbles underneath. “This world crumbling into pieces / in front of our eyes / this place gonna burn.” The sonic frenzy escalates until you can almost feel the earth shaking under your feet, guitars so heavy the streets are beginning to crack open. Having additional guitars and moog energy from Johan Winther just makes the sound all the bigger, and this song truly becomes the apocalyptic earthquake it should be.
The final track, “Out of Control,” closes out this intense album perfectly with a message of the persistent need to keep moving, keep hustling, keep working, keep making, in an extremely broken world that will never allow you to stop. “Don’t stop this motion, keep it moving,” Röstberg sings. “You can’t stop now, make sure to let go. Out of control, out of control.” The unhinged and potentially dangerous energy of humanity on the edge comes through beautifully in this last track from Omni of Halos, and throughout the album.
Omni of Halos (photo by David Hultesjö)
Featuring the four tracks from the band’s Care Free EP (released earlier this year) and six brand-new songs, Omni of Halos offers dramatic rock music at its best. “We just wanted to play massive indie rock with no limitations or influences,” says Röthberg, and that is what they’ve achieved. With production from Per Stålberg (of Division of Laura Lee and Pablo Matisse) and mixing from John Agnello (who previously collaborated with Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, and Kurt Vile), Omni of Halos is “beauty and darkness combined,” providing “shelter to the misunderstood.” One big old laser storm of loud goodness from Gothenberg, Sweden!