Since the ‘90s the world of metal has largely been divided into different subgenres, which have acted as pigeonholes from which bands rarely deigned to crossover with anything outside. There have been some bands who have combined two subgenres, hence the birth of new subgenres such as Blackened Death Metal. Also times of bands combining one subgenre with influences from outside of metal, which has given us subgenres such as Folk Metal. Rarer still are the odd bands which come along and boldly walk amidst the no-man’s land between subgenres, taking from each as if they are at some sort of musical buffet. The Offering is one such example as they combine elements of progressive metal, power metal, nu metal, speed metal, technical metal, deathcore and thrash. It’s such an amalgamation that it’s probably easier to say what they don’t sound like than what they do sound like. Guitarist Nishad George has commented on their wide range of influences:
“(it’s) like choosing colors on a painting. We’re creating something, but we don’t want too much of the same color for the entire picture, and our choice of color should never distract us or be the main focus of the statement of the piece.”
The Offering’s debut album HOME introduces their unique take on metal energetically and melodically. There are blistering guitar acrobatics (Nishad George) with some strange spacey tones, harsh vocals mixed with power metal style high operatic vocals (Alex Richichi), rollicking basslines (Spencer Metela) and relentless drums; which deftly transition between different sections of the songs (Steve Finn). The band manage to cram a lot of interest into each song without it appearing too random and chaotic. For the most part it's still sufficiently melodic and linear. The different influences blend together seamlessly to create songs which sound paradoxically fresh but familiar as if a selection of famous metal songs have been deconstructed and reassembled in a new and equally innovative way.
The vocalist Alex Richichi is incredibly talented and versatile – this is perhaps best illustrated by the song ‘Ultraviolence’ where he flip-flops effortlessly between death growls, pig squeals, gritty operatic traditional heavy metal vocals and high-pitched hair metal/power metal screams. There are a series of these screams during the climax of the song where after thinking the first one was impressive enough, another couple follow it getting higher each time, and are sustained for longer than expected.
The guitarwork is impressive throughout with fast-paced noodling and divebombing. There is also a really nice, distinctively late 80s/early 90s guitar tone used on ‘Dance with Diana’, (the kind of tone used in the more subdued parts of thrash/groove metal songs such as “This Love” by Pantera).
Lyrically, the band is perhaps most aligned with nu metal as the lyrics are primarily focused on personal experiences and feelings, opting for realism over escapism. This makes for quite a cathartic listen. According to vocalist Alex Richichi, the particular topic for the lyrics on HOME is “feeling small, inconsequential, forgotten, wasted, and questioning how you fit in”.
Most of the songs feature some technical/mathy style sections and there is even the odd breakdown. These interrupt the melodic and upbeat flow of the songs a little but thankfully they are brief and unobtrusive enough to not dominate the songs. Overall this album is bound to unite the fans of many subgenres, perhaps expanding some of their horizons. This band will be one to watch over the next few years as they clearly have a lot of talent, a unique sound and broad scope for appeal.
Home is out now via Century Media Records