Album Review: OHHMS – The Fool

Review from Ben Forrester

OHHMS exploded into my ears in October 2014 with a two track EP that was over half an hour of sludgy, doomy riffs with smatterings of classic rock and power metal. It was a striking debut to say the least! They followed it up just a few months later in June 2015 with ‘Cold‘, another two track epic which brought a more stoner vibe to their already chaotic prog collage. The quintet have been working hard on the live scene since these releases and have spent the past twelve months constructing and creating their debut album, ‘The Fool‘.

As expected The Fool is just under an hour of music, and consists of six songs that each contribute to this tapestry of sound. There’s a lot to take in here and as always, OHHMS have crafted the listener a sonic journey to embark on.

Shuffle, Cut and Reveal‘ opens the record with just over a minute of intricately played acoustic guitars that intrigues and mystifies straight away, before thunderous drums bring in the roaring riff of ‘The Magician‘, which is the earth shattering sort of stuff we were expecting. ‘The Hanged Man‘ and ‘The World‘ follow suit as winding, sprawling pieces of prog. They both stand tall with a muscular drum track, murky guitar tones and vocals that range from the soul-wrenching to bludgeoning. These are tracks to get submersed in.

And then after all of that excitement you get ‘The Lovers‘, a slowed down, post-hardcore ballad that croons gently over clean guitars and beautifully bewildering female vocals. It’s cool to see the band not going over board here, keeping it simple and offering a heartwarming moment of calm in an otherwise chaotic set. It’s a welcome curve ball for sure.

The album concludes on a 21 minute epic called ‘The Heirophant‘. How else would they end it? For about 6 minutes it’s got this drone metal thing going on, before it kicks into a mind field of bewitching vocals, floor tom pummeling and guitars sludged up to the high heavens. For the most part this is a crushing track, but its passionate vocals really hit this emotional high. The track eventually fades out to these beautiful choral harmonies that gives us the exact theatrical ending we were hoping for.

The Fool is everything you’d expect and more. It’s super prog, has a couple of surprises in there too but ultimately it’s the sound of OHHMS pushing themselves as songwriters and musicians to create a fearless debut. It’s bound to leave those that favour the weirder sides of rock music weak at the knees.

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