The Omnific – The Law Of Augmenting Returns

The Omnific – The Law Of Augmenting Returns

Do you like bass? I asked DO YOU LIKE BASS?!!!!!!

The Omnific return with this audacious sophomoric gem after the blast of their first album. The use of a bass guitar as lead may not appeal to everyone, but in the true form of progression, The Law Of Augmenting Returns pushes the boundaries of the last album, using an array of instruments not utilised in their previous work, including live brass.

Having already seen comments online, I am here to try and convince you this is not just ear bleeding, brain meltingly loud prog metal. Of course, using bass does lean to a deeper pulse in the music, but the band steadfastly refuse to use any other guitars, necessitating the need to ensure the bass lines are clear and distinctive. So there is no loss of quality in the mix, and returning production team Adam Bentley (mixing, Arch Echo), Ermin Hamidovic (mastering, Periphery), aid the band’s own Matt Fack who handles the majority of programming to ensure the instrumentation is perspicuously dealt with.

The music does also have a touch of humour in it at times as on track one, The Omnific ≈ Bass, where they have used the double tilde mathematical symbol in the title between the words, (meaning ‘almost equal to’), which I have to admit proved a challenge to enter on the page. The deceptive use of a barbershop quartet foreword by Tim Waurick, with excerpts from Luke Taylor of Heartline, wrong foots you from the start. The title track also embraces bass solos from British YouTube sensation Charles Berthoud, and Australian newcomer Kai Den Hertog.

How is this not Prog? Yes, alright you naysayers, there is no cowbell. Let’s move on…..

Title track, The Law of Augmenting Returns also features Den Hertog and Berthoud, with the keyboards of Rohan Sharma (I Built The Sky) augmenting the sound, (as he does throughout the album) adding some light comedic touches. Drums intersperse in intricate patterns with the basses seamlessly, on this musical dance of crazy twirls and stutters, with a honky tonk piano outro.

An intro of an orchestral sounding tune played backwards lead into Matrices, as the basses spar like heavyweight pugilists, with synthesised strings bouncing on and off the ropes whilst the drums referee. The track staggers dazed to its punch-drunk conclusion.

An airy melodic feel to the beginning of next track Base Camp, as your ears gaze upward to the mountains of speakers and the basses rhythmically ascend the heights pausing throughout to gain further footholds, with some graceful fretboard runs. Elation bound keys lift us higher as this lighter track scales precipice after precipice through the clouds, to reach the beautiful string summit.

As elusive to pin down as the track title, Will-O’-The-Wisp starts with a Pallas style synth intro then the drums roll in like a thick mist and the guitars dance in a Flamenco/Tango rage, twitching and floating about with rhythm changes, syncopation thrown to the winds. It would be fascinating to see this played live as each of the musicians nail their time signatures to coincide with each other. Eerily drifting toward the end then gripped again by the basses to a frantic finish as we catch our breath.

Short but bouncy Phat Mackerel, swims heavily into your ears, wriggling with rich funky bass on a rapid current, bubbling through the speakers and breaking the surface for air. Diving deep into sunken chords and then thrown on the battered skins of the drums, floundering and flopping as they are carried over the waterfall of sound.

Slippery to hold on to, penultimate track Butterfingers slides across the sound system as the band adeptly control the music, twisting the form to different tempos and flipping it through the varying degrees of instruments on the oily surface of notes, that are passed to but suddenly juggled and dropped by the drums.

This has been a lively album to listen to, with subtle intricacies tempered by fluent keyboards and one feels you may need a Double Malt Ditty to steady yourself as this album is brought to a climax with this slab of prime musical beef. Cooked to perfection, seared but a little raw in the middle with a healthy side of supporting instrumental salad played with muscled relish. The band brandish the required accoutrements and allow us to digest this comfortably, our appetite suitably satiated.

You can snack on your soggy burger and fries, whilst you sit safe, listening to your 70’s prog, or you can be really progressive and give this album a listen. It doesn’t have to be turned up to eleven for enjoyment, (though you may if you are so inclined), as this album is far more than just a bang your head on the wall racket. It’s clever, with a wry grin and has far more to offer than you might think. But you will never know if you don’t have a listen.

By the way, did I mention, there is no cowbell?

01. The Omnific ≈ Bass (7:01)
02. The Law of Augmenting Returns (6:12)
03. Matrices (4:17)
04. Base Camp (6:03)
05. Will-O’-The-Wisp (7:39)
06. Phat Mackerel (2:28)
07. Butterfingers (4:17)
08. Double Malt Ditty (6:08)

Total Time – 44:05

Matt Fack – Bass
Toby Peterson-Stewart – Bass
Jerome Lematua – Drums
~ With:
Joshua Verco – Cello, Double Bass
Pranav Roy – Trombone
Tobias Bottrall – Trumpet
Josh Saunders – Bass VI
Tim Waurick – Voices (1)
Luke Taylor – Voices (1)
Charles Berthoud – Bass Solos (2)
Kai Den Hertog – Bass Solos (2)
Rohan Sharma – Keyboards (8)

Record Label: Wild Thing Music Group
Country of Origin: Australia
Date of Release: 7th June 2024

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