Sydney, Australia is known worldwide for a number of things including the 2000 Summer Olympics and being one of the locations that hosts the Soundwave Music Festival, but now it’s looking to gain new infamy in the form of metal quintet Our Last Enemy (OLE). The Sydney ensemble will be releasing their latest album Pariah via Eclipse Records on March 11. Fusing different styles of metal influence these guys are packing more than just your typical grit and growl.
Opening with a wretched fury, Pariah kicks off with “Devour the Sun” and a fast-chugging guitar stream that snatches you up a drags you along for the ride. The Sydney five piece immediately establish their presence and take a stance of unrelenting metal energy and catchy riffs that get you bouncing and wanting to mosh along with them right from the jump. “Wolves of Perigord” continues this wave of infectiousness with its heavy bass drops and pointed rhythms.
Showcasing not only intense industrial metal influence, but some mainstream elements as well, OLE is a hybrid of metal intensity that stands out as something a bit different from today’s norm. Their musical timing is ripe to the point of accentuating key moments/elements in each song. Unlike some metal, this album doesn’t just rip through the good parts at breakneck speed to leave you breathless just for the hell of it; they take the proper time to guide you. This isn’t just an journey for travel’s sake, it is an adventure meant to be lived and indulged in. Demonstrating elements and possible influences of Children of Bodom, Wintersun and As I Lay Dying, OLE incorporate gritty, angsty vocals with rhythmic beats and well-paced instrumental flow. Sometimes melodic and slow, other times bouncy and raw, the musical path on Pariah is ever changing and evolving. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, they shift gears.
Songs like “10,000 Headless Horses,” and “Carrion” are great examples of how the dynamics can shift with in minutes and never makes the listener lose step. Also, the two six-minute opuses “Pariah BC” and “Pariah AD” take the listener on a journey through the musical underworld full of dark, ethereal ambiance and, at times, a slightly sinister maze punctuated with sharp bass drum rolls and jagged vocal commands. These guys aren’t out to prove they’re better than everyone else, or that they can make a more advanced album that’s meant to be decoded and deftly interpreted; they want to make great music. You don’t need a PhD to get the gist of what they’re saying here and that is probably the best part about this record, it’s straight up metal for the masses. The title alone, Pariah, lends itself towards the band’s intention. “Pariah,” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, means “one that is despised or rejected,” and in this case it seems as if OLE was going for just that- to highlight the perks of being a pariah. They seem to be taking a stab at some social norms and rebelling against the selfishness of human nature as deemed appropriate by society. In a post-apocalyptic world, nothing matters, you make your own rules and you don’t abandon or destroy those close to you. In the end it is the moral code we develop for ourselves that defines who we are, not the world around us.
“I will not kill my brother. I will not be torn asunder.”- "10,000 Headless Horses"
Overall, Pariah makes for an interesting listen beginning to end because you never know where it will lead you next. Somewhere dark and twisted? That hyperactive angst-laden part of your subconscious? You own inner social pariah? The truth is, the fun is the discovery. The variations between intense industrial metal influences and more traditional metal traces make this a vibrant listen and a riveting ride through the peaks and falls of instrumental fury.