Released: 2009, Cyclone Empire
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
From the bowels of hell, by way of the Netherlands, comes Onheil and their debut full length, RAZOR. If the Onheil name sounds familiar, it’s with good reason, as the band has been grinding it out in the underground for over a decade with a number of demos and singles to their credit. Though RAZOR is the first proper release from the band, the preceding ten years leading up to this point must have been well spent, as RAZOR is nothing short of excellent.
Onheil successfully blends a variety of familiar influences and exports them into something fresh and original. The songs have the sinister speed and ambience of Emperor, the pervasive melody of In Flames, and the black cynicism of Sentenced. The band comes charging out of the gate with the delightfully macabre “Nemesis Fading Light,” carried by the chorus of “Wake Me, When You Die!!”, and doesn’t relent until the album’s conclusion. Throughout the disc, the band navigates through black metal sensibilities and Maiden-esque harmonies, leaving a trail of enjoyable carnage in its wake. Boasting no less than three guitarists in its ranks, the band is able to create atmosphere without succumbing to the synthesized trappings that you may expect.
Though much of the lyrical fodder is centered around anti-Christian sentiment and general nihilism, it never gets schlocky. Combine that with the band’s knack for coming up with memorable riffs and you’ve got yourself a consistent, mature metal release for an audience that’s in desperate need for just such a thing. The production values are top notch, and the songs benefit from such a clean presentation.
RAZOR may have been overshadowed by the sheer number of other great albums released in 2009, but that’s all the more reason that you need shouldn’t let this one slip by you now and make Onheil part of your regular vocabulary. A relentless debut from start to finish, RAZOR is an album that every fan of extreme/black metal should get to know.