Review: Onward To Olympas, “This World Is Not My Home”

It’s a new year, and with each new year comes an onslaught of new bands and new talent to be judged and reckoned with. Hardcore is definitely one of the styles that tends to be fought over by an uncountable number of bands, each trying to bring something new to the table. Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina comes the hardcore act Onward To Olympas, recently signed to Facedown Records and releasing their debut full-length, This World Is Not My Home. The title seems to say it all, as these guys are not ashamed of being called a Christian band, and finding themselves a deal with a predominantly Christian label such as Facedown. But is the record worth a listen as one of the first hard bands to debut in 2010?

While the seemingly quirky band members (take a look at their MySpace pictures and you’ll see what I mean) have a decent formula to work with, it doesn’t really set them apart from anyone else on the Facedown roster. Stop and go breakdowns are key, such as in songs like “Overcoming” and the near speed-metal track “Sink Or Swim”. Not ones to be outdone, the band borrows from other labelmates and scene bands by having sing-along clean vocals during bridges and breakdowns, but it doesn’t always work. A common downfall for Facedown bands is that the production is never quite what it should be, and while in the past year much of it has gotten better, the production is still not up to par with other metal labels and bands, it seems. This is particularly something that Onward To Olympas suffers from, as the many of the drum solos sound bad, particularly in headphones. But back to the music.

To say that Onward To Olympas’ label debut is bad is not a good representation of what these guys do. The songs as a whole are tight, the message in each song is clear (that of Christ in their lyrics) and instrumentation is nothing anyone can sneeze at. The clean vocal parts is mainly what ruins the experience for this band, because the screaming and growling vocals really shine through, particularly on songs like “Presence At A Funeral”. In the same song, the clean vocals tend to be a bit too much.

Without it, they would take on a Demon Hunter feel, just with a more poppy feel than DH has ever been.  Overall, for newbies to Facedown, these guys will likely see quite a few tours and get themselves noticed this year. It may not be the best, particularly because they’ll have to dance with Demon Hunter’s own return this year, but it’s a good start for 2010.

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