OLAM
I Will Guide Thy Hand


4.5
superb

Review

by Dean M. CONTRIBUTOR (27 Reviews)
July 25th, 2019 | 18 replies


Release Date: 03/28/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Desperate, vicious, and resilient, I Will Guide Thy Hand masterfully weaves the best parts of screamo and metalcore into a staggering experience.

When I first heard I Will Guide Thy Hand, I was reading The Fifth Season, a Hugo-winning fantasy novel by N.K. Jemisin. The novel concerns the lives and struggles of orogenes, a race of humans who can telepathically manipulate the earth and its seismic energy to literally move mountains. Their powers make them targets of horrific levels of violence and oppression, and many people believe that they’re too dangerous to be allowed to live at all. And so the story alternates between the main characters performing awesome, terrifying feats of magic, often in self-defense, and suffering at the hands of a system that considers their very existence a threat. It’s equal parts thrilling and heartbreaking.

Whether by serendipitous timing or just a tendency to make strange connections, I hear the plight of the orogenes in I Will Guide Thy Hand. OLAM’s style of hardcore elegantly weaves the desperate chaos of emoviolence together with the vicious aggression of metalcore, evoking both the suffering and panic of victimhood and the instinct for violent self-defense. This duality is immediately evident in the first moments of “Wounds,” as the track shifts on a dime between a frantic seizure and an aggressive, pulverizing breakdown. Vocalist Jake Hahn’s screams can embody the pained howls of mauled prey as well as the warning screeches of a cornered predator. These juxtapositions permeate the whole of I Will Guide Thy Hand, and by the time the closing title track arrives, the persistence of the themes of desperation and aggression cause a third theme to unfold: resilience. Like the orogenes of The Fifth Season, OLAM spends the runtime of I Will Guide Thy Hand surviving by the skin of their teeth as they are assailed from all directions, and the title track is a defiant declaration that they will continue to fight and continue to survive: “I am wolf / I’m awake / I’m a vulture on the take.” Listening to I Will Guide Thy Hand is often a cathartic experience, but it’s just as often a harrowing one, and by switching between the two modes at breakneck velocity, the album refuses to give the listener much room to catch their breath. The last moments of the closer serve as a triumphant conclusion to the experience, allowing the listener to settle just enough to reflect on how much they’ve endured. I Will Guide Thy Hand is simply a staggering piece of music, and ultimately, it’s a monumentally rewarding one.



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user ratings (18)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great insight on what is undeniably the metalcore album of the year thus far. Like the connections you made and I definitely plan on jamming this again, I have no doubt it could grow into a higher rating. Praise be to underground releases like this!

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2019


1020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

i enjoyed this but it wore off fairly quickly, if this is metalcore of the year so far then it's only because there hasn't been much in the way of competition so far

Digging: Seizures - Reverie of the Revolving Diamond

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In fairness you're correct, it's been relatively quiet. Most of the heavy-hitters brought out their material last year, but I don't believe that lowers the value of this.



Upon revisiting, I still greatly enjoy this and it's certainly amazing for a debut effort. However, there is plenty of room for growth in here. I think if they stopped dancing around those small snippets of post-metal influences and committed to them more fully, their sound would have much more intrigue and variance.



I'll definitely be watching their career with great interest.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2019


16248 Comments


I remember when this came out, only listened to it a few times but I remember it rippin

SteakByrnes
July 26th 2019


15725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will check and then will say whether it's metalcore of the year or not

Digging: Speech Patterns - Without a Sound

SteakByrnes
July 26th 2019


15725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It is not.



This thing just loses all of its steam before even getting going man. While there are moments of truly good tracks in Beth and Ventriloquism, they don't last as they're sandwiched between so much pointless in your face garbo that Converge does 10 times better. The interludes do nothing other than pad the run time, and that 7 and a half minute closer? Really? That was just more of the same shit just for an excruciatingly longer time. I dunno man, this ain't it

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2019


3331 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

:/

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What is your best metalcore of the year out of curiosity?

SteakByrnes
July 26th 2019


15725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a secret until December 31st 2019

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Codename for "it's a djenty-boys album but I don't want to say it"? ;)

SteakByrnes
July 26th 2019


15725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If you must know, one of my contenders is indeed djent

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just giving you a little ribbing. You know I love ya

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 26th 2019


32083 Comments


Good review. Love the album art as well. Doesn't seem like my thing musically but I might give it a cursory listen and see if anything grabs me.

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

decisions
July 27th 2019


414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm, I really enjoyed this. Sick drumming. Screams are a bit monotonous and sometimes I feel like the songs could've been a bit more adventurous, but overall a very solid metal core release.

Ambrosian
July 28th 2019


143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Found it to be good but forgettable

decisions
July 28th 2019


414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just wish the vocals were a little less of a monotonous Jacob Bannon ripoff. Good album though.

hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2019


1118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i’m kinda disappointed people aren’t vibing with this as much as i am, but thanks all for the feedback and giving it a shot

Tchitcherine
August 7th 2019


213 Comments


Sweet and hot, loved it from the first second. But suspiciously accessible, I hope it keeps on giving after listening to it a few times



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