Music Review: FINDING GOD BEFORE GOD FINDS ME by Bad Omens (Sumerian Records)

BadOmens-FindingGodDeluxe

An interesting, eclectic metal album. Pretty cool.

If I hadn’t already known before listening to the album, I could have easily guessed that Finding God Before God Finds Me was released by Sumerian Records. The range of styles and sounds, mixing clean rock and crunchy, scream-y metal seems to be the calling card of many of the label’s artists. Luckily, it’s a mix that I enjoy very much. Some of the bands are better than others, and Bad Omens falls in the former camp — I only came across them relatively recently, but I’ve grown to like them a lot.

Bad Omens is a talented metal band, switching between the metal and rock spectra quite easily and skillfully. They sometimes remind me a bit of Asking Alexandria. Bad Omens is certainly their own band, with their own sound. They’re difficult to pigeon-hole, given the incredible range of their songs. For some, this might make them seem a bit schizophrenic or disjointed, but I think it makes Finding God Before He Finds Me a very interesting listening experience.

“Kingdom of Cards” opens the album with an intriguing sonic mix — it’s got a bit of an Irish folk meter and bounce to it, tapping into melancholy but avoiding any jauntiness. It was a surprising way to start the album (I’d heard the singles before listening to the album as a whole), but I liked it.

Noah Sebastian’s vocals are quite distinctive — moving from rock/pop-worthy clean singing to a breathy scream the offers a great contrast. The rest of the band — Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson (guitars), Nicholas Ruffilo (bass), and Nick Folio (drums) — are clearly gifted, and deliver some pretty good riffs, fills, etc. In addition to the crunchy metal that they do very well, the albums has moments of more gothic-rock/metal musical additions — typically delivered on keyboards. It adds some interesting colour and even more variety to an album that is otherwise stylistically very mixed. (I can’t think of another album that moves between sub-genres so much as this one does.)

Two stand-out songs for me are “Careful What You Wish For” and “Limits” (my favourite on the album). The first is a very good cross-over metal/rock anthem, with maybe a hint of an early-2000s metal sound — reminds me a little bit of Black Tide, but without the obvious Metallica influence. “Limits” is a more straight-forward rock song. Both of them made me think of Asking Alexandria — especially their From Death to Destiny and eponymous albums (the latter also includes a song complaining about other bands trying to rip off their style and sound — I hope they didn’t mean Bad Omens, but… well).

The AA comparison should be taken with a pinch of salt, however — the more I listened to the album, the clearer their differences became and I grew to like the songs more and more. Bad Omens is a heavier band, on the whole, but their more melodic offerings are excellent and keep the album interesting. You notice each song, and they don’t blend into each other in a way that many metal(core) albums do — this isn’t metal elevator music. In a genre that features so many cookie cutter bands and albums, it is refreshing to find one that tries to forge its own path and mostly succeeds.

(I know, including the videos seems like a cheat, but online music reviewing is becoming a touch redundant, when clips, videos, etc., are so widely and freely available — just go listen for yourself! I see this more as a way to bring the music and bands to others’ attention, rather than a “review” per se.)

Meanwhile, Finding God Before God Finds Me also has a couple of absolute belters. The middle section of the album delivers the most punch, with the beginning and ending offering more rock cuts. “Dethrone” and “Blood” are the heaviest songs on the album, with “The Hell I Overcame” another heavier single. It’s quite surprising that the same album has both “Dethrone” and “Limits” — as you can hear in the videos, they are very different. “Dethrone” is the song that seems to fit least well on the album — it has the fewest markers that define and identify the rest of the songs as Bad Omens songs. The next on the album, “Blood” is another heavier song, but Sebastian’s vocals are more recognizable in comparison to the rest of the album.

If you’re a fan of Bad Omens’ eponymous previous album then I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy Finding God Before God Finds Me. It feels a bit like the band is trying to showcase everything they can do on the album, which is no bad thing, but some people might not enjoy the lack of cohesion as much as I did. If you’re looking for a metal band that is different from the herd, then I’d recommend you give Bad Omens a try.

The album is available in regular and Deluxe editions, and I’d recommend the latter (which includes “Limits”).

  1. Kingdom of Cards
  2. Running in Circles
  3. Careful What You Wish For
  4. The Hell I Overcame
  5. Dethrone
  6. Blood
  7. Mercy
  8. Said & Done
  9. Burning Out
  10. If I’m There
  11. Never Know [Deluxe]
  12. Limits [Deluxe]
  13. Come Undone [Deluxe]

Follow the Band: Website, Twitter

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