Oni Are The Band You Need To Deal With The Current State of the World
3rd May 2017, 18:37
Posted by Chris

As if 2016 didn’t spawn enough completely erratic political and social events, it also spawned Oni, an chaotically organised progressive metal outfit that churned out a hell of an addictive debut album. We spoke to the band to learn just how this crazy, razor-sharp sound came about.

The Canadian sextet’s choice of direction for music just seems all to fitting for the state of the world these days. A sound that can only be described of having the unpredictability of knife-juggling and, and one that sets the atmosphere of entering a berserker-like trance. It’s fiercely heavy, ingeniously technical and almost has the intent of a swift assassination of your ear drums.

Ironshore‘ is ironically a beautiful record, and all those elements that one would generally provide discord to most metal listeners have embraced them, that including myself. Despite the album being the bands debut, each of the nine tracks stand out as if it all had a wealth of songwriting experience. Oni aren’t just defying progressive norms, they are seemingly giving the middle finger to them. It’s the perfect record to get lost in.

Before the band destroyed London in their support tour with Children of Bodom, we got the opportunity to catch up with vocalist Jake Oni to make more sense of what is quite frankly the most erratic and maniacal progressive metal to emerge on to the mainstream in the past few years. Asking Jake about the development of their ‘Ironshore‘ debut:


“It was a never ending creative battle…we took the material to our producer Josh who fucked it up again…changed arrangements here or there…and he did what he wanted to do. It’s another broad side of the ship, you just can’t get too married to an idea in pre-production.

[In this band] You can’t have an ego…everyone’s ideas will get to the chopping block at some point. We were really happy with it in the end, but it was a grueling process…making a record with 6 very opinionated people it will always be like that.”


What was a bit hard to pinpoint on the album is how the sound of Oni developed. While it seems like there was never a clear direction into the kind of music the band wanted to make, the quality of the album defines an atmospheric clarity. It harnesses traditional metal aggression and spits out each note in a melodramatic fashion. That’s what we took from it anyway. As a man who was present in the development of Oni’s sound, we hear a few words on how it came to be:


“A combination of me, John, Chase…pretty much the whole band. Just all of us writing together. It is what it is. Doing the technical shred metal with a Xylosynth definitely had an impact, you just wouldn’t expect it to be there, some guy just going ham all the time [on an electric xylophone]…

We all have totally different influences – we can be stoked on an idea or be ready to kill each other. We will fight to the bitter end over things like one person wants ‘blue’ and one wants ‘red’, so it’s kind of fucked…but it’s definitely a benefit to the sound of the band. If it it was just me, or any one of the guys the band would not sound the way it does. We wouldn’t have come up with what we did, it’s always the best to have another opinion when looking at things.”


It all seems mutually accepted that the sound is dark by the band, fans and pundits alike. That darkness is a relating description of the band’s home country of Canada in winter. Canadian metal has been following and setting some high standards of metal – perhaps that darkness is embraced as inspiration for the brilliantly aggressive and technical metal that is emerging from the country – we asked Jake his thoughts on that…


“It’s a cold, industrial, metal place. You go on the radio and Metallica’s playing. To us that’s pretty much pop music, but it’s still metal. Metal is part of the culture up there for lack of the better word. It’s so cold and snowy outside that I just think people get locked in and play guitar all day. That happens.”


With two European tours now passed by and an acclaimed debut album, Oni have certainly set the gears in motion for a grand besieging into the progressive metal scene. We hope that the band are going to continue their great run, so we ask what’s in store for the band over the next year:


“Keep writing. We’re gonna go back to Canada and spend time writing for the new record, doing a few shows with Devin Townsend…Gojira…Code Orange…keep touring, keep writing, having a lot of fun! We love touring, and we are a band of bros. We’ll have a new record out sooner or later.”


Oni have a lot of love for their fans, and they have a lot of love for their craft. All the love going around one would think the end product would turn out to be a bit more mellow…but to put it bluntly, Oni’s music is insane. It’s the eternal war of creative input that produces such insanity this kind of erratic metal couldn’t have come at a better time.

Oni’s debut record ‘Ironshore’ is available now via Metal Blade Records