Monday 3 June 2019

Osatia - All in Time (2019)

Country: USA
Style: Post-Hardcore
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 31 May 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Those of you following my journey through the whole spectrum of rock music at Apocalypse Later will be aware of my complete lack of understanding of what the genre called post-hardcore actually is. The releases I've reviewed haven't helped much, verging from the schizophrenic screamo of Famous Last Words to the schizophrenic prog of Borders of Byzantium. There's more to it than schizophrenic, I'm sure.

The core of the genre seems to be an experimental approach to the energy of hardcore, which means that singers don't always scream and their music veers from pop to metal and back, sometimes within the same song. Osatia fit that bill nicely, sounding rather like a progressive pop band with vocals from a singer, Alex Pasibe, whom I was rather shocked to discover is male. That's no dig, by the way. His vocals are high and feminine but very capable and they're the best advert for Osatia, even if there are tinges of autotune.

That hardcore energy is definitely there, but there's nothing else here to remind of hardcore. Pasibe is a alternative rock singer, delivering clean vocals, even when he screams, which isn't too often. The drums are playful but driving and there are a wealth of electronic textures behind the band that flavour what they do.

Frankly, the biggest problem with the album is that it's short. Unlike the Vader EP I reviewed on Friday, this is supposedly full length but it doesn't even reach the half hour mark and it boasts only seven three or four minute songs with an acoustic version of We Care for good measure. That's a mini-album in my book.

Oddly, it's this acoustic track that defines the album. Rather than being a translation of a song into an acoustic style, as is so often the case, it's very much the regular punky We Care, two songs earlier on the album, merely quieter and softer, which ably highlights how any heaviness apparent in Osatia's sound is just another layer that can be easily taken away without damaging their material in the slightest.

Maybe that's why I'm thinking of this as Taylor Swift meets U2 but given a crunch and an energy through prominent drumming and power chords. That goes double for songs like The Inevitable, which is a heavy pop song in the same way that Babymetal play heavy kawaii pop. Personally, I much prefer Osatia loud and energetic and the opening couple of songs epitomise that.

First up is the title track, with its jangling melody and crunchy bedrock. It's emphatically in your face stuff, taking its "Keep on fighting!" lyric to heart, even when it quietens down. Atlantis is even better, a dissonant guitar and a melodic keyboard combining to make a tasty backing for Pasibe. It's energetic but experimental too and it's easily my favourite track on the album.

The middle of the album sounds very similar to me except for The Inevitable. Lose My Number, Anxiety and We Care all play at a similar pace and with a similar outlook. If you like one, you'll like all of them and, frankly, you'll like the rest of the album too. On the flipside, if you don't like the first one you find, this isn't going to be for you. Wasting My Life gets a little more screamo to wrap up the core album but it's not out of place.

And maybe this highlights the other negative side, that its experimentation is rather consistently applied and not particularly deep. Sure, it has the energy of hardcore and it has a neat combination of sounds, especially with the keyboard layers, but that's as experimental as it gets. So much for my latest definition of post-hardcore! All in time, I guess.

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