The Anatomy Of: Oni

2016 has been chock full of great releases, some of which we (sadly) missed out on. We can’t post about everything or we’d be up to necks in content (first world problems, I know)! One such release is Oni‘s Ironshore, a progressive album that’s extremely cohesive and endearing. Rooted firmly in complexity, Ironshore nonetheless manages to evoke melody, emotion and conviction. Listen to “Kanvas” for example: amidst breakneck keyboard work, intricate guitar lines, harsh and clean vocals, hides an honest emotional streak that runs throughout the album and ties it all together.

Seeing as the album is so intricate, we thought we’d get the band to shed some more light on the influences that make them tick as musicians. We hoped it would give us more insight into what seems like another, incredibly strong addition to the annals of modern progressive metal and boy, we got more than we bargained for! Head on below to read their in depth and enlightening list in one of our personal favorite Anatomy Of posts!

Jake Oni (vocals)- Slipknot, “Untitled”

Slipknot is my all-time favorite band. Their first untitled album changed my life in more ways than one. Hearing the pain and hostility in the lyrics of tracks like “Only One”, “Tattered and Torn”, and “Scissors” helped me work some shit out in my younger and more vulnerable years. I felt so understood by that band. Whenever I listened to Slipknot I could exercise some of my bad energy.
My dad passed away when I was eight years old, so I never had a good male role model to learn from and in that way I really related to Corey Taylor a lot. Listening to the song “Eyeless”, I understood that he went through a lot of the same stuff that I dealt with. Beyond the lyrics there is so much more to be taken from the album as inspiration. Some of the best snare fills I’ve ever heard and some of the most aggressive-sounding drumming. When I first heard Slipknot, I felt like they were so much more raw than other nu metal bands at the time. I love that they used the demo for “Spit It Out” on the final record so you can hear the sonic difference with this song compared to the rest of the record. It captures such a brutal sound.

Martin Andres (Guitar) – Gojira, “From Mars to Sirius”

One album that changed my life and musical perspective was Gojira’s From Mars to Sirius. I first heard of and saw Gojira back when they did their first co-headlining US tour with Lamb of God. I remember I drove two hours from where I used to live in Canada to Ohio to see LoG which was one of my other favorite all time bands growing up, and having never seen or heard of Gojira, their performance changed me forever. I immediately bought their album and basically listened to it nonstop on rotation for the next few weeks. I remember being amazed at how well the sound quality of the album resembled the bands live show. The record wasn’t TOO live-sounding but huge and authentic, and the live performance was unbelievably tight and huge as well…and the difference in quality between hearing both in the same night was pretty much indistinguishable. The rhythmic tightness of the whole band, the strong sense of groove and mysterious, simple but eerie guitar melodies had me hooked me right away. Gojira still gives me the feeling of giants among men, dragons among petty peasants, and sea monsters among tall ships caught in hurricane maelstroms. There is a sense of grandiosity to Gojira which I love to listen to. “The Heaviest Matter of The Universe”, “From the Sky”, and “Backbone” are my favorite tracks on the album. Some of the metric modulations and fluidity behind them the band plays are moments in Gojira that strike me most.

Joseph Greulich, (Drums) – Rush, “Moving Pictures”

It’s hard to pick only one album that has impacted my life…and once I finally chose the band it became especially difficult to choose just one album! A lot of Rush’s discography has been an influence in my musical life, but the one album that sparked my inner drummers mind was Moving Pictures.

“Tom Sawyer” was the first song I learned in an odd time signature, and I’m sure just as most drummers who learned that song by ear early in their drumming lives, I didn’t realize I was playing in “seven”. There was a certain jerky or hesitation/anticipation feeling in the groove to the odd time signature that I really enjoyed playing (helped with counting too!).

This album is littered with intricate rhythms and time signatures. The playing and song writing is so smooth and well thought out, and their time signature changes flow well. This is probably why most of the music and drum parts that I write have similar concepts. I realize now that this is the album that started me on the path of understanding how learning the melody can help me apply melodic ideas to the drum set. The goal is always to play drums musically. “The Professor” was the first one to make me realize that. With that said, Rush was essentially the initiator and the main reason I even play drums today. Canadian Heroes!

Chase Bryant (Bass) – Deftones, “Adrenaline”

This album in many ways started the musical journey that led me to the passions and influences I have today. I remember being 11 years old in grade seven trying to find things that I identified with when suddenly my troubled friend put his headphones over my ears and showed me the middle breakdown of “7 Words”. My whole body became swarmed with goosebumps and I was never the same again. The groove and Steph’s guitar tones mixed with Chino’s intensity and the driving bass consumed me. So much of that exact combo is what defines Deftones‘ greatness in my opinion. From that day on I walked with a new swagger and had opened my mind to all of the influences that define me as a musician today. At the time I didn’t know the first thing about guitar tones or the difference between hip hop drums/metal/rock etc. But after spending years digging into different genres, sounds and styles I find I still hold my standards up to the tones/swagger and drumming that was establishing itself on Adrenaline.

This album had an enormous impact on me when I was young and continues to change the way I look at things today. “Nosebleed” has always been my favorite Deftones track. Abe’s drums are so fucking cool, the guitar work is really creative and full of character: the ambient middle section back into the intense verse outro always used to get me solo moshing in the apartment I grew up in, upsetting the neighbors above and below. It was those early albums that led me to pick up the bass and keep me inspired to this day. From Chi, to Jaco Pastorius, to Evan Brewer: I cherish each influence equally and never forget the albums and bands that started the journey for me.

John DeAngelis (Xylosynth) – Dream Theater, “Metropolis Pt2: Scenes from a Memory”

For me, this album really changed my trajectory as a musician in that I had never seen anyone play at that level before in a rock or metal group. I’ve always been drawn to technical prowess and grew up listening to and admiring guys like Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), Kirk Hammett (Metallica) Marty Friedman and Jason Becker (Megadeth). But when I heard this album and saw them play these songs live the game changed for me. Also the incorporation of the keyboard by Jordan Rudess, who is an absolute beast, was something new for me and I would say is a huge reason I switched from the drums to the xylosynth. I was playing drums at the time when I first heard this record, so obviously Mike Portnoy was my hero immediately and really influenced my drumming and still does to this day. And the other guys are OK too I guess. Just kidding they’re all incredible. They’re the best. Petrucci for life!

Brandon White (Guitar) – Protest the Hero, “Kezia”

The album that affected me the most growing up was Kezia by Protest the Hero. My cousin showed me the songs “Red Stars Over the Battle of the Cowshed” (off of A Calculated Use of Sound) and “Blindfolds Aside”. I remember my jaw dropping to the floor and listening to the tracks on repeat the whole night. Once I purchased Kezia, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It never left my Discman (it was a bitchin’ blue RCA one) or my MP3 player. I was obsessed. The balance of melody, belting vocals, shred guitar, breakdowns, and meter changes blew me away and forever impacted me. I am the musician I am today because of it. I was inspired to learn songs that pushed me as a musician and it inspired me to write music that would push me to the next level as well. It also taught me a lot about song composition as it pushed me to be more creative that I was to write riffs and transitions for my songs. Kezia was my bridge to technical music. After that, I got into bands like The Human Abstract and Between the Buried and Me (Colors is another incredibly influential album for me), which further pushed me down the prog metal path of no return. I’m still a die-hard PTH fan today. They’re incredible people and super talented musicians who are still pushing boundaries today with their new release Pacific Myth.

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Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.






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