Opting For Oblivion, by their own description, are a ‘punk/rock/metal’ band, hailing from Stoke-On-Trent. Despite some lineup troubles, they’ve managed to get their act together and have recorded a new three track EP, Tomorrow Starts Today. It’s certainly an optimistic title, indicating a fresh start and a hopeful future, but does the EP provide that? That is the question.
Opening track, To Your Grave, was perhaps not the best choice of opener. I’m of the firm opinion that you open and finish with your strongest tracks, and To Your Grave is potentially the weakest song on the EP. From the offset, I’m struggling to find where the ‘punk’ is in this, or even the ‘metal’. Misclassification is a common thread in the British music scene, with bands often referring to their influences as opposed to their actual music. But that’s cool, I’ll let it slide. I refuse to let slide the quite frankly average guitar solo in the middle, which sadly permeates its way throughout the rest of the EP – it sounds a bit like a stuck record and admittedly, fairly grating. The vocals are somewhat tinny, possibly down to the production, but interestingly this doesn’t follow through the EP, which is something to look forward to. On the whole, the track has that generic rock feel, the kind you encounter all too often at ‘battle of the bands’ nights down your local. If you like that kind of thing, then this track’s for you. If not, skip to the next.
Next track up is 6/8 < 1. Interesting title, sadly uninteresting song. It starts out a bit more promising than To Your Grave, but ultimately becomes the same slow, plodding affair. Opening with an attempt at a cocky classic rock riff and a bit of melody, it sounds more commanding before sliding back into a slow vocal section, then back into the riff, and back again, then a bit of bass, but not a twiddly guitar solo – this one’s much improved on the last song, but it’s still pretty generic. It’s garage rock 101, but sadly not the kind to make you want to mosh hard. Or even really bang your head.
The best track on the EP is most definitely its last, The World Through A Broken Lense. Probably should point out that ‘lense’ is spelt wrong. The opening is faster paced, with less focus on the “rock!’ and more on the melody. It’s more impressive than the rest because it’s not trying to grab your attention straight away and in that, it actually succeeds to make itself noticed. The vocals are still a bit dicey; I’m struggling to make out a fair few lines. But it sounds right with the music and that’s what matters. However, the song reaches a logical end and then starts right back in again, extending it past what would have been the right length and drags it out, kicking and screaming. Despite this, it’s not a bad track and if Opting For Oblivion go with this kind of approach, the future will be much brighter.
The EP was recorded over the space of a couple of days, and if that means produced as well, then it makes sense as to why the production isn’t so great. On my ‘recently added’ playlist, it goes from this EP straight into a Youtube rip of the new Panic! At The Disco song, which in comparison sounds almost live. And we all know Youtube rips are not the audiophile’s first choice. The Opting For Oblivion EP is fuzzy in places, the vocals aren’t clear and the guitar solos are particularly painful. Whether that’s production or not is up to you, but personally, I think that this EP would be much more listenable if it was tightened up a bit and the levels were adjusted.
It’s not my kind of music, I’ll admit that right from the off. The kind of grungey, classic rock/garage rock doesn’t do it for me at all. The first two tracks are especially painful in that regard. However, the last track shows a lot more potential. If the band decide to take that kind of direction, they might just stand a chance.
1.5 out of 5 high fives.