If a band consists of members from Ne Obliviscaris and Todtgelichter, it’s a fair bet that the results will be 1) bloody dark, 2) as mad as a sheep in a tree. Sure enough, Omega Infinity provides all of this, with the frosted vocal of the Aussies’ mystical Xenoyr tangling with the musical machinations of ‘lichter drummer and keyboardist Tentakel P for debut album Solar Spectre (Season of Mist).
The tracks cover our Solar System, beginning with the delicate atmospherics of ‘Uranus’, a drifting through space that is about, one feels, to get a little less peaceful. Sure enough, breakneck speed and hissing hostility welcomes ‘Mars’ into the fray, alarming blastbeats, and a near-symphonic guitar riff the undercurrent for Xenoyr’s earthshaking roar. There is an inventive nature, with Industrial keys coursing through the track’s body and a second movement full of quiet, eerie portent and fearsome chants. The synthetic vein carries into the ensuing ‘Venus’: an 80s Pop-flavoured keyboard peeping its head above the besieged parapet and giving the violence occasional air, while the vocal wails of Todtgelichter’s Marta Braun add to the claustrophobia.
‘Jupiter’s slow, pounding beat is Doom-laden and again augmented by Tentakel’s electronic prowess, a return to the metallic jarring that is a real feature of the sound and which maintains the threat of hell among the skies. This blend of the real and artificial is made all the more effective and appealing by the inclusion of the latter, offsetting the hysterical screams competing equally with the mournful voice of Valborg and Owl vocalist Christian Kolf. It segues into the frozen tundra of ‘Sol’, a galloping horror of fuzzed bass and drums with a Black ‘n’ Roll riff which nevertheless allows the keys to leave a feeling of humanity within the final crescendo. They provide a haunting call throughout the standout ‘Neptune’, Braun giving an affecting lead performance to another slow-paced wander through the icy heavens, duelling deliciously with Xenoyr’s hostility atop a cold melancholy. ‘Saturn’, meanwhile, fires right back into jagged, Blackened Industria: the keys mimicking metal splinters shooting into the body, then capable of cold 80s Synthpop.
It’s a pummelling close: the frenetic fury of ‘Terra’ seeming to whirl the Earth around purgatory-like a spoon stirring coffee, its relentless chaos, and battery a suitable comment on the state of the world today; while the oppressive atmosphere and firing samples of closer ‘Mercury’ completely unravel what’s left of the senses. It’s probably not what Holst had in mind when he set out to compose The Planets, but in their own way, Omega Infinity have created something as striking, varied and enthralling.
8 / 10