It’s too early to pick favorites of the year, right? No? Because it’s our blog and we can do whatever we want? Sounds good to us because OHHMS’ latest record, Rot, is a must for music fans in 2023. In one case of Spotify actually working for the artist, we were belatedly turned onto the UK quintet after many a playthrough of the newest Poison Ruin singles (Off Harvest, out April 14th, review due soon…) resulted in some random tunes following and from there we were hooked after barely hearing a few bars off tracks on their 2020 release, Close (Go listen to that here right now). Imagine our surprise that the follow-up was imminent to boot!
But I digress!
All that brings us to today and one helluva record that manages to take the underground aesthetic of Art Noise outfits like Unsane and Girls Against Boys and combines it with the progressive fury of Remission-era Mastodon. And it all starts with “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death”, a sprawling opus that’s barely contained intensity gently seethes over almost four and a half minutes of Max Newton’s primal throttling of the skins while Paul Waller’s vocal range is both tested and previewed for new fans as it relishes in a relaxed croon one moment and roars the next with Stuart Day and Marc Prentice’s guitars gelling with Chainy Rabbit’s bass to form a formidable wall of noise.
We’ll be honest, “Eaten Alive” has been on repeat a LOT at the RNRF offices since we first heard it a little over a week ago. Like, so much that we’re expecting it high up on our 2023 Spotify Wrapped list (We swear we have no affiliation with Spotify). And so much so that we needed to take a break so as not to get sick of it. But really, after you hear it you’ll be able to concur this fact: How could you get sick of this track??? “Eaten Alive” is kind of unassuming with its’ straight-out-the-gates chest beating bravado but look deeper and let the waves of guitars wash over you repeatedly until you get to the gooey center with Waller barking out the chorus and you’ll be an OHHMS convert just like us.
“Blood Feast” is just another solid reminder that you picked a good one when you chose Rot while “Body Melt” offers the first lull before cascading into a sweeping anthem that’s as loud as it is luscious. Another comes-out-swinging moment happens at the start of “A Dark Song” that sexily sashays into a driving Prentice and Day riff rollercoaster as the rhythmic pounce of Rabbit and Newton round out the bottom end underneath Waller’s commanding pipes. “The Mephisto Waltz” was another early indicator of the coming greatness of Rot having been unleashed almost a year ago and containing a killer earworm of a chorus with “Sisters” entering next like a wrecking ball tearing through a condemned high rise but in this case, the high rise is yer earholes. But in a good way. We promise! “Swamp Thing” closes up the Rot shop with a rumbly riot of sound that’d make for the most perfect backdrop set to the classic Alan Moore run on the comic book character who shares the same name as the song.