Bucketlist Bi-Polar Review: Ogenix – 01

Welcome to the second edition of Bucketlist’s Bipolar Reviews, a series where I, Jesse Gainer from Montreal, Quebec, and Scott Andrews, from Perth, Western Australia, both review the same album. Scott and I would love to do this series more often, but Scott gets really busy defending himself and his loved ones from Australia’s abundant population of gargantuan, nightmare-inducing  spiders. Thankfully, Scott’s torn himself away from arachnid slaughter long enough for us to review the new full length record, -01-, by Montreal metal band Ogenix. Scott, take it away!

Scott Andrews:

Thanks, Jesse. Sheesh, you lot do hide some gems away in Montreal, don’t ya!  These boys have pulled a tasty, tasty sound with these recordings.  The bottom end is absolutely kicking on this LP, and the songwriting takes no prisoners.  Riff after riff pile on top of each other, utterly exhausted and spent.  Each second of this album is played with 100% of the band’s collective strength.  The fact that it commences with a song called “The End” was appeal enough for me.  The song itself was wildly beyond my expectations.  “We are the end are you ready?” refrains the monster, and I realise that I wasn’t.  Cue massive instrumental interlude and a fat, fat breakdown; where the fuck have Ogenix been?

It’s gritty and hard but has some tasty, twisted electronic tinges. It’s tight as a snare drum head and utterly adulterated by creative release.  Deep and intelligent production values drive this record and suck the listener into every single song.   Mid album segue ‘Atheist Song’ is testament to this fact and leads into my favourite; the hyperactive Motörhead: ‘MKT’.  It’s obvious that the electronic element to this band is no mixed blessing, on the contrary – it only serves to heighten and maintain the intensity of these songs.   It also allows the rhythm section to breathe a bit here and there as the synths and electronica build atmosphere and space.  It’s industrial, but not as you know it.

My only criticism of this release is that it could perhaps go on a bit longer.  The apocalypse Ogenix dragged me into just seemed like it required a slightly more gradiated resolution.  I felt like a power cut had rudely sabotaged my stereo when the album finished and could have easily taken another three or four tracks before this spaceship landed.  Yes, it feels slightly unresolved and that is the only reason –01- is losing points from me. Now, let’s lend a generous ear to the words of my northern hemisphere brother, Mr. Jesse Gainer.

Jesse Gainer:

If heavy metal were a city, there would be a giant sign posted at the town’s limits that read “Welcome to Metal, INNOVATE AT YOUR OWN RISK”. As much as we fans of metal like to tell ourselves that ours is a genre that holds high the ideals of free expression and anti-authoritarianism, we tend to be fearful of change,  As such, Ogenix‘s new full length -01- may draw the ire of old-guard genre-curmudgeons for the group’s brand of synth-infused techno-metal, but fans of heavy music would be remiss to give this disc a pass just because they are afraid of the bleep bloops.

Infusing metal with electronic music isn’t an new concept; bands like Fear FactorySlipknotRammsteinBetween The Buried and Me, and Full of Hell all utilize some form of synthetics to achieve their sound. The success of using electronic elements comes down to a songwriter’s ability to use these elements to enhance the music instead of relying on them as a gimmick or crutch.

Ogenix’s lead singer/writer/synth dude Gabriel Duceppe clearly understands this. The electronic elements of -01- serve to lend a futuristic, industrial flavor to the record, thus achieving a particular sonic aesthetic without detracting from the weight of the music.

The album’s first track, ironically titled “The End”, aptly demonstrates Ogenix’s deft touch; the song kicks off with a thick, satisfying, late-90’s metalcore groove. The riff is indeed the star of the show, while the techno elements simply add color commentary.

It’s also nice to hear good musicianship on a record that very easily could have used studio wizardry to cover up shortcomings. Gabriel Harvey’s drumming is tight, technically proficient, and surprisingly organic-sounding, providing a nice counter-point to the machines, best evidenced during the bouncy, syncopated beat played throughout the track “Cult”.

The guitar work, handled by Dave Hazel and Set Landerich, and bass work by Jérémie Martin respectively, is solid if at times a bit simplistic. The riffs are heavy as fuck and frenetic as all get out (I would equate the part where the guitars kick in for the track “MKT” to getting punched in the balls by The Terminator), but it would be cool to hear these guys use a bit more of the fret board. This could simply be a songwriting choice to keep the guitar work focused on the low-end attack while the synth does the noodling, however this pattern, coupled with a dynamic range that is jammed firmly in the red zone at all times, makes some of the album’s tracks blend together.

Duceppe’s vocals fit the tunes really well, however I have to admit that the first time I heard his growl I was struck with a vision of a dystopian cyber-punk future where our remaining great thinkers decided that the only way to save humanity was to re-animate Jaime Jasta and turn him into some sort of lead singer Robocop. Spooky!

In summary, Ogenix have crafted a heavy, high-energy album that successfully marries the analog and the digital.

Written by Jesse Gainer / Scott Andrews

 

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