Progressive Metal • Canada
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Oni is a progressive metal / djent band from Windsor, Ontario. The band was formed in 2014. They released their debut album "Ironshore" in 2016 with Metal Blade. In 2017, they toured with Children of Bodom. Oni uses an instrument called a xylosynth, which is unusual in metal music.

The band is comprised of Jake Oni (vocals), Martin Andres (guitar), Brandon White (guitar), Chase Bryant (bass), Johnny D (xylosynth), and Joe Greulich (drums).
Thanks to voila_la_scorie for the addition and tupan for the updates

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ONI Ironshore album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Progressive Metal 2016

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ONI Alone album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Progressive Metal 2019

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.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eternal Recurrence
Progressive Metal 2016
.. Album Cover
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Progressive Metal 2019

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ONI Reviews

ONI Ironshore

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
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Oni is billed as a progressive metal band and one of the first things you should know is that Oni’s brand of progressive metal is of the new wave type that a reviewer for Metal Injection pointed out as being a lot like Between the Buried and Me. We’re talking lots of different styles, lots of fast music with fast changes, harsh vocals and clean vocals, different riffing styles, mellower parts and a xylosynth.

A what?!

A xylosynth. Well, alright. It sounds potentially gimmicky so I’ll move along and come back to it when it’s relevant.

“Ironshore” is Oni’s debut album and, aside from a digital-only EP release, this is their only album. As mentioned, the music on this album is fast, brutal, and furious at times while other times being surprisingly melodic and also Dream Theater-technical at other times. The band promoted the album with two singles and videos: “Barn Burner” and “Eternal Recurrence”, the first two tracks off the album. I’ll admit that with so much happening in the music, it’s a bit difficult at first to sort in one’s mind one song from the next, but a few careful listens helps to make sense of what’s going on here. “Barn Burner”, for example, features some ear-catching bass finger tapping (that’s what it sounds like to me anyway) while “Eternal Recurrence” has this slow and soft part with clean vocals, synths and piano cropping up in the first minute of the song before things go all brutal again.

The music at times sounds like Dream Theater at their heaviest and most intense while at other times it’s closer to metalcore. One reviewer pointed out how the clean vocals often give a flavour of “whiny metalcore”. I’ll stick my own thought about that in here: I’m not a fan of clean vocals in metalcore because I don’t think they suit a metal vocal style. For that, I sometimes don’t care for the clean vocals here either, and I’m not alone. The one review on Metal Archives has lots of good things to say about the music but heaps disdain upon the clean vocals. There’s a tendency toward the progressive metal style of clean vocals as well, and in the slowed down, almost seventies groovy section in the middle of “The Science”, it sounds more like a modern progressive rock band. Still, out of three reviews I read, two really weren’t in for the clean vocals. Fortunately, the harsh vocals are much, much more common.

Given the nature of the music, everyone is freakin’ busy! It’s good to hear the bass come forward so often and show up clearly in the mix many times. Guitar riffs, well, just go back and refer to the likenesses to Between the Buried and Me and Dream Theater. A YouTuber reviewing the album said at least three tracks are so much like The Human Abstract, but I can’t agree or disagree because I haven’t heard that band.

So what about this xylosynth? Well, you’ll hear plenty of what sounds like synthesizer playing, often sounding reminiscent of Jordan Rudess, particularly for the barrage of notes that come like a volley of arrows through the heavy guitars. There are also other “synthesizer” moments frequently enough to likely remind you of Dream Theater. The thing is that these are all played on a xylophone that is “electric”. In fact, you can see videos on YouTube of musician Johnny DeAngelis playing away to Oni’s songs. Now the Metal Injection reviewer said he saw the band perform live and thought that the xylophone looked like the most un-metal instrument ever but quickly pointed out that when you hear the album, you think it’s a synthesizer and it sounds really cool. Again, I’m hearing strong Dream Theater similarities when the xylosynth is playing some complex melody or solo between bursts of electric guitar leads or the band’s sometimes jarring time signatures.

This has been not an easy album for me to digest right away. It’s easy to think at first that this album is the musical equivalent of trying to repack an explosion back into the bomb. But if you’re familiar with the sub-genre-jumping music of Between the Buried and Me or Protest the Hero and the technical and contorted instrumental exercises of Dream Theater, you may begin to appreciate what’s going on here. There’s a lot happening with a lot of parts crying for closer attention.

Naturally, a band with this much flair for tight, shifting dynamics in music, an instrumental track is on order, and that is the track “The Takeover” which delivers one helluva wild exhibition of musical gymnastics. Of the three reviews I read and the one YouTube video review I watched, everyone had great compliments about the music and the harsh vocals. Only the clean vocals received criticism in two cases. I’ll say that at times the clean vocals kind of work with the music in some places but when they go soft and melodic metalcore, I’m not convinced it’s the best approach. However, I will agree that the music here is quite a ride and with a few more careful listens I think I should be able to untangle the knots in my brain that some of this tracks give me.

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