Review Summary: A band plagued by a lack of exposure to the hardcore genre that they are helping redefine with a fresh new sound.
Culture is the third full length album from the melodic yet doom and gloom Hardcore band from Sweden No Omega and it’s one that some may have a hard time getting all the way through without investing the care needed to realize this beautiful piece of art. The vocals and lyrics, like previous releases, continue to bleed emotion as they focus on personal matters like depression and social anxiety, but still sticking to their anti-capitalist movement as well.
Fans familiar with their last record “Shame” will realize quickly that something sounds different. The mix was done by Jack Shirley of Deafheaven fame this time around, but the band has also had a change in vocalists with Andreas leaving and their guitarist/backup vocalist Oscar taking over full duties and stepping back from his guitar role.
The previous bassist Daniel took over on guitar for this release and didn’t miss a beat. Oscar’s vocals don’t disappoint either with his soft and frantic dynamics back and forth that the powerful Andreas was somewhat lacking. The music continues down a melodic dark path with the album kicking off with the title track and Oscar’s emotions are felt in such lines with high fry screams:
“We used to feel safe
We used to belong
We used to find meaning
We had a future
We were creative”
His dynamics could make someone unfamiliar with the band think there are multiple different vocalists from these lines alone. The track “Within, Without” somehow manages to sound epic in its 3 and a half minutes with depressing lyrics that yet somehow have an uplifted leaning, something that the band might not be trying to pursue. The drums are as chaotic as ever, especially with the use of more blast beats. The guitars have an energy that soars with all the chaos and noise but yet somehow still manages to have such a melodic flavour that will keep those around that struggle to digest the vocal onslaught.
With that being said, the 34 minute run-time flies by rather quickly. Songs like “Unsociable” have Post Hardcore leanings that would fit into the Touche Amore catalogue nicely. “Feral Houses” could bring tears with questions of our very own existence. Resignation fits as the album’s closer with a sense of conclusion even though it’s a dark one. The song wails with a sad end of a relationship with a friend, whether it’s from death or a falling out, it ends the record perfectly with its raw power.
Fans of heavy music should do themselves a favor and check this band out. Despite taking from influences like Killing the Dream, there’s really nobody quite like No Omega with this sound in the Hardcore genre. They’re paving the way for other extreme underground bands, they just need more exposure for people to listen.