Sound: New this year to the Facedown Records lineup is Onward To Olympas, hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina and is comprised of Kramer Lowe (Lead Vocals), Justin Gage (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew Higginbotham (Lead Guitar), Justin Allman (Bass), and Matt Burnside (Drums). Their Facedown debut, "This World Is Not My Home" is quite the interesting record.
It kicks off with "Unstoppable", and right from the first note you know your ears are going to be in for a beating. At times Lowe sounds like Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice, but that's not at all a bad thing.
Every song here has something that will grab you. Be it a catchy chorus sung by guitarist Justin Gage (see "Sink or Swim") or a riff that jumps out at you (see near the end of "Don't Cry To Me"), each song has something to hook the listener.
They also try something completely unexpected of a metal band with the title track, "This World Is Not My Home". Towards the end it slows down, and it almost turns into a beautifully-atmosphered track with the lyrics, "Say what you will but I'll still be standing, safe and secure. Undeservingly pure You've found me. Ignored Your call, I lost it all. Your grace abounds me. I give my life, guide me home, guide me home." It's a nice subtle note to end off the intensity that dominated the majority of the album. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrical side of Onward To Olympas is all faith-based, but the guys do know how to pen some good lyrics. There's a couple instances, however where they're borderline cheesy ("You're home now/Don't cry to me"), but for the most part they let you know where the band stands spiritually without making the listener feel like they're being preached at.
Vocally Kramer Lowe and Justin Gage make quite the team. Lowe provides the gritty vocals that drive the songs' verses, while Gage jumps in for clean vocals in most of the songs' choruses. The band also tries out some group vocals on a few songs, which work out quite well. // 8
Overall Impression: Onward To Olympas is truly a strong addition to the Facedown lineup. They bring with them an enormous amount of brutality and talent and have produced a solid debut album. Every song makes you just as excited for the next, and when you hit the closer (also the title track), you may even want to go back and listen through it all over again.
Standout tracks are "Her Best Words Were Goodbye", "Sink or Swim" (for which there is a music video), "Presence At The Funeral", and "This World Is Not My Home".
If you're a metal fan you shouldn't pass up this album. Even if the last song may be a turn-off to you, you should at least give some of these tracks a listen. This is a solid debut, and I can't wait to hear more from this band. // 10