Written by Valkyrjiaa
A Dark Halo – Omnibus One
> Cyber progressive metal
> Texas, US
> Releasing July 14
> Heavy Armor Records
It’s Cyberpunk meets Mobile Suit: Gundam in a clash of titans that has emerged as A Dark Halo. With shattering electronics, heavy rhythms, and stunning melodies, A Dark Halo create a wild and diverse experience with each track that that gets you itching for more and called it Omnibus One. Founded in Austin, TX in 2005, the band has become known as a cyber-metal act that accessible sound and hook-maddening dynamics. Their name is derived from “dark matters halo” a concept that serves as a metaphor for the expansive knowledge that surrounds us yet remains unclaimed. The band draws inspiration from bands like Scar Symmetry, Dream Theater, and Fear Factory while simultaneously bringing in a peculiar sound all their own and using it to smash through dimensional barriers with unyielding breakdowns and sensational passion.
Opening up the experience with “Thin Be the Veil”, we are immediately met by the relentless heaviness through battering drums and eerie vocal harmony. It’s a track written about madness, as we teeter on the brink to be fought by the rivals of reason and wildness. Melrose (also of Mechina) vocals are toned to hologram-like reminiscence adding another layer of curiosity and shock to this already infectious track. Spreading across your brain waves like spider wires, this track brings melodics and heaviness together while still embracing a unique twist of solos, electronics, and vocal contrast that had me listening on repeat right after my initial taste.
The follow-up is “Starfall”, featuring Kathleen Cylkowski, that begins like stars filling the night sky on the chime of piano keys. Growing in rhythm and sound, our delicate view is pulled away by metal ferocity. This track sees ethereal elements flourish as a mix of cleans and harshness take to standing side by side for a gorgeous vocal performance that sets the skies ablaze. With an enigmatic solo and captivating chorus tune, this track brings the electronic and melodic together in a dance of sorrow and beauty unmatched by all expectations.
“Vector Unknown”, featuring Anna Hel, brings the darkness of space to our doorstep with an unyielding presence of mass and terror. The light vocals that dance against the screams of shocking yet strangely welcome nightmares, as they float down a seamless stream, are both impressive and frightening. The commitment to menace and balance that A Dark Halo embraces is surreal, bringing in those bits of pain and head-banging intensity that are equally greeted by glorious clean vocals and satellite speckling that is all too captivating. It’s a wondrous track that explores musical depth and pushes the boundaries of creativity on endless sides. From moments of peace to a full descent into black hole unknowns, this track truly leaves nothing behind, and ranks high on my favorites from this album with ease.
“I, Revenant” takes curiosity to a new level, luring us in with cosmic paintings of tranquility before dropping into a minefield of broken dreams and memories. The underlying thunder the drums commit to on this track are ridiculous, all while distorted wisdom peeks at a haunted veil. It’s a vastly impressive track only further energized by its massive presence of percussion and its dedication to cybernetic-style glitches. The shortest on the album but the most breath-taking, with a full metal feel and a melodic core that had me feeling as it I was floating away in space.
Our closure comes with “The Disquiet”, a track that holds eeriness at its core while still hammering forward with heavy metal impact. It takes the same route of distortion as “I, Revenant” but has a back and forth warfare to its vocal composition, as lead vocalist Dave Lowmiller trades lines with Melrose. From logical and methodical to relentlessly unhinged, it’s a song that challenges every sound we’d heard previously to create something both somber and untamed. It’s a track that had me uncertain at first but the way it seems to come together is divine, utilizing the full elemental buffet at their hands to give us a musical feast unlike we’ve ever heard before. Elegant solos cascade while a mind-splitting breakdown stings long after our venture ends. Its beautiful and apocalyptic, tranquil yet chaotic, and somehow manages to stay balanced to bring us a song that lingers on and on.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Omnibus One is strangely refined in a way that’s composed in an almost mathematically calculated level yet layered with distortion and imagination from end to end. From the ear-splitting chaos of “The Disquiet” to the low and slow “Afterworld” and the expansive “Vector Unknown”, this album is a myriad of creative and controlled, untamed yet restricted, with elements of beauty and unknown at the helm. This album is more than a treat to listeners, it’s a phenomenal example as to why A Dark Halo has such a dedicated and loyal fanbase, as they continue to expand and explore the universe of sound, space, and spirit.