Artist: Onward to Olympas
Label: Facedown Records
Being creative is tough. Standing out in the music scene is hard. Standing out in the hardcore scene is even harder. It’s as simple as that. Albums like Indicator by Onward to Olympas might not completely push the creative envelope as much as the latest by “band x” that’s selling out clubs on their own headlining dates, but it does go far as impressing me more than a lot of the other bands that base their songs off of blueprints that consist of auto-tuned fluff and breakdown filler.
Starting off, the production efforts on Indicator are an immense step up from the band’s previous two albums, The War Within Us and This World is Not My Home. You can hear it behind the drum quality and guitar tone, and even in the vocals. Nothing about this album seems to be blatantly fake. “Strange Forest” kicks the album off into high gear with it’s driven feel that instantly makes it the best candidate for an album opener. Sure, clean vocalist Kyle Phillips has a mediocre performance with his chorus lines, ‘If time is of the essence, I pray that it comes fast. I know I lacked my faith in the toughest era yet.’ If he had only put in more of an “oomph” into it, the chorus of the song would stick out more.
The next song ["Wolf's Jaw"] sees the band doing what is considerably the polar opposite of what I said about the previous track, and that’s backed by the combination of starting the song with boring chugs and continuing it with melodic vocals that are seemingly sung with some real passion and effort. “Circles & Illusions” makes great use of electronics in the song’s intro, and Phillips’ chorus part seems very reminiscent of Jeremy Depoyester’s work in The Devil Wears Prada.
Further on into the album, “Breakthrough” sees Phillips solely fronting a song on his own, and doing a good job at it too, in spite of the fact that it’s the shortest actual song on the album. As predictable as it is, my honest pick for favorite lyrics on the album come from the band’s cliche breakdown mosh call where vocalist Kramer Lowe screams out ‘I’m so sick of your face!!!’ at the closing end of “The Truth In Foundations”. It isn’t the deepest of lyrics, but when was the last time that you heard a DEEP mosh call? The album finishes on an energetic note with what I consider to be the best song of the album, which is”Holding The Aspects”, and the song even features guest vocals by Mike Perez of No Bragging Rights.
At the end of the day, Indicator is an album that people could likely live without because aside from the truthful and motivating Christian lyrics, there aren’t that many outstanding qualities that make this album pop out amongst other bands that can do certain specific things in a much better way. But I will hand it to the band by saying that with all of the crap that hardcore bands take from critics, there are no two songs on this record that sound the same. This is pretty hard to come by nowadays, and that’s what makes this album better than so many of the bland releases that have come out in 2012.
Review by Adrian Garza