I’ve only recently discovered this band through the 4 tracks they have released ahead of their new release in 2022 so decided to delve into their discography and have fallen in love with their prior release from 2019 “Finding God Before God Finds Me”
This Los Angeles metalcore group were founded in 2015. The lineup is Noah Sebastian : Vocals (2015-present). Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson : Guitars, Vocals (2015-present) Nicholas Ruffilo : Bass, Guitars, Backing Vocals (2015-present). Nick Folio : Drums (2015-present)
If I hadn’t known prior to listening to the album, I could have easily guessed that Finding God Before God Finds Me was released by either Sumerian Records or Arising Empire. The range of styles and sounds, mixing clean rock and crunchy, metalcore seems to be the calling card of many of these labels roster. Luckily, it’s a mix of styles that I throughly enjoy. Some of the bands do this better than others, and Bad Omens falls in the former camp — I only came across them relatively recently, but I’ve grown to like them a lot.
Bad Omens are a hugely talented metal band, switching between the metal and rock spectra quite easily and skillfully. At times they seem to remind me a bit of Asking Alexandria. However, Bad Omens is certainly their own band and have forged their own sound. They’re very difficult to pigeon-hole, given the incredible range of their songs. For some, this may make them seem a bit schizophrenic or disjointed, but I think it makes Finding God Before He Finds Me a very interesting listening experience.
Noah Sebastian’s vocals are very distinctive moving seamlessly between rock/pop-worthy clean singing to rasping screams and this offers a great contrast. The rest of the band are clearly gifted, and deliver some pretty good riffs, fills, etc. In addition to the crunchy metal that they do very well, the albums has moments of melancholia usually found on more gothic-rock/metal albums which is typically delivered on keyboards. It adds some interesting colour and even more depth to an album that is otherwise stylistically incredibly diverse. (I can’t think of another album that moves between sub-genres so much as this one does.)
The more I listen to this album the Asking Alexandra comparison I mentioned earlier should be taken with a pinch of salt, their differences became and I grew to like the songs more and more. Bad Omens are a heavier band, however their more melodic moments are truly excellent and keep the album fresh. Each song is pretty unique, and they don’t blend into each other in a way that a lot metal(core) albums do. This is certainly not metal elevator music. In a genre that features many cookie cutter bands and albums, I try to seek bands who are refreshing and try to forge their own path and from my past reviews I hope this is demonstrably obvious.
The first track on this album is “Kingdom of Cards” and it takes back to the American west with almost country like feel to it in places as we see the first showcasing of experimentation on this album. During this song lyrically we hear about struggles of having to choose between your family and becoming a famous musician. Noah Sebastian explains about how he had to leave family behind in order to pursue his music dream. He mentions the fame and legacy he gets being nice, however he reflects on always having to live with the fact that he possibly lost all those close to him. The latter part of the song features a powerful choir singing the chorus and it just makes the song that much more intense and heightens the feeling.
Next up is the second track “Running in Circles” and it seems for the majority of the song to explore the feeling of not being afraid to die as well as the notion of thinking we’re going to live forever. It’s a very energetic song with a chorus that is extremely catchy and is sure to get embedded in your head upon the first listen. It’s by no means my favourite song on this album, but it manages to hold its own.
The first video release that came from this album is third track “Careful What You Wish For” where Noah conveys the feelings he has towards the people he’s lost over the years. It also acts as an all too forgotten reminder to not hold on to the weight of other’s mistakes and that you need to learn to forgive yourself when it’s too late to forgive someone else. Gulp! It’s really hard not to feel the pain conveyed here. This song opens with a great instrumental that includes violins and leads into a very hard hitting chorus. The bridge is almost euphoric and it finishes it all off with the best elements of this song coming together as one. Wow!!
“The Hell I Overcame” was the second video release and I feel that it continues where the last track left off with many similarities to the previous track when it comes to the overall feel of the entire song. However, during this song Noah sings about how he hopes that God will forgive all the people who have been skeptical of him and his life choices especially after everything he’s been through. There is a lot of emotion in this song and a very powerful video shown below.
All aboard the Heavy Train as next up it’s by far the heaviest song on this entire album, “Dethrone” and a definite favourite as it just gets your adrenaline pumping. The lyrical content is very compelling. It seems to be written from the point of view of a messenger from hell who would love to show up to the gates of heaven to spit in God’s face. The vocals are as aggressive as ever and has almost a deathcore feel. Lovely stuff.
“Blood” is unfortunately my least favorite song on this album as some of the screamed vocals just feel too feigned and laboured especially during the chorus and sound like they don’t belong as a part of this song. I have no issues at all with the instrumentation. Whilst the verses themselves aren’t too bad, the chorus is meant to be where you capture your audience’s ear but this is the only song on this album where that just didn’t happen for me.
And we are back ladies and gents! We get back on the right track with “Mercy” it is about how if God came down to Earth today and saw what we’ve made of it, he’d certainly not take us back to heaven with him. It has a lovely slow build up to the chorus in the first verse. The vocals mixed with the instrumentals are on point for this song and really gives you a reason to keep listening all the way through. There is real sense of longing and frustration in Noah’s voice in this song that just resonates with me.
“Said & Done” conveys the feeling of just not being good enough to be loved by someone no matter how much you’re willing to give that person. It’s a feeling I can really empathise with. My only niggle with this song is that I would have liked a better chorus however the verses and bridge manage do make up for it in return. This song contains an great guitar solo during its’ bridge and just adds on to the many little things that this song was able to do for me. However, I feel if it just had a better chorus that it’d be one of my if not my favourite song on the entire album.
“Burning Out” is probably my favorite song on the entire album. I love it’s message. For me it addresses not being perfect but still being proud of who you are and also trying to find yourself. We have yet another hard hitting chorus that I know I’d be singing at the top of my lungs at a live show if I ever got to see these boys love. Not to mention the guitars that are played in the same melody as the vocals making everything blend so effortlessly.
The album finale is the track “If I’m There” which has the feel of a love song but the band themselves also described it as, “a song of forgiveness and acceptance.” It’s a very strong ending and easily one of my favourites from this entire album as it has such a powerful chorus and of course the return of the choir for the final moments of this album. This is a perfect closer to a great album.
Having only heard the 4 songs pre-released ahead of their new album before scrutinising this album I have to say I’m impressed. You can really hear them coming into their own with the experimentation and different things they did for this album. They’re a fairly young band, they still have plenty left to show us and very well could end up being one of the bigger names in the metal industry in the future. Kudos