OWL COMPANY is an alternative metal band out of São Paulo, Brazil that began life in 2014 when vocalist Enrico Minelli and guitarist Felipe Ruiz started composing songs together and became a band as a three-piece, together with drummer Thiago Biasoli. The trio began gigging in their local area and continued to write throughout 2016, recording songs at their home studio and independently releasing their debut album ‘Horizon’ in 2017, the year their numbers swelled to five as Fabio Yamamoto (bass) and Bronu Solera (guitars) joined the band. The album received critical acclaim and the band travelled to the West Coast of the US to play some dates, catching the attention of producer Matt Wallace (3 Doors Down, Faith No More). After the tour, the band returned to Los Angeles to record the single ‘Pieces’, with Wallace producing. The single led to the band signing with Eclipse Records. Immediately after singing, OWL COMPANY headed back to the studio to record their new album, with Wallace producing. ‘Iris’ was released on 9th November 2018, on Eclipse Records.
‘One Last Time’ opens the album with a powerful, driving drum beat and strong, throaty vocal that immediately grab my attention, before a neat flowing guitar riff joins the party. Chuggy bass lines and hooky rhythm guitar licks work alongside pounding drums throughout this impressive first track. The melodic riffs and heavy, in your face rhythm of ‘Boogie Man’, is perfect to get you up on your feet and moving. Minelli’s gruff but clean vocals work perfectly with the instruments on this track that’s reminiscent of years gone by, but also injected with a fresh focus, combining to bring a sound that is somehow familiar and new at the same time.
The softer verses in ‘Rise’ focus on a softly plucked guitar with resonating, booming bass lines and less abrasive vocals that sound fantastic together. The song seems to be about faith, but with the onus that everyone is responsible for their own actions. The choruses incorporate the other instruments that were more subdued in the verses. It’s a powerful song that for me has been somewhat of a grower. ‘Antagonist’ is a personal reflection on the ending of a relationship and you get exactly what you expect from the title. There are conflicting sounds that at first sound quite hostile together. The wonderfully heavy, pummeling drums and throbbing bass lines sound strange at first but work really well once you get used to them, and the melodic, hooky choruses release the chaotic tension.
First single from the album, ‘Shattered Dreams’, about faith and how it can take away a person’s free will, was released in August 2018. I can see why it was chosen as the lead single as it sounds radio-ready with flawless, killer riffs and a chorus that eats its way into your brain. The band’s rhythm section shows no sign of slowing down on this track, as the thwacking drums, resonating bass and heavy rhythm guitar keep up a blistering beat.
‘Dawn of Days’ and ‘Broken Paradigm’ both feature cracking riffs and those vocals that switch between aggressively growly and raw & raspy. Thundering drums pound out the back-beat as the swaggering bass and rhythm guitars weave their hypnotic magical waves.
Onto ‘Disconnected’, which is about loneliness and self-destruction, but having someone who will help you when you’re at that low point, as in the lyrics “be my strength when I grow weak…you build me up when I am down” with awesome staccato drums in the chorus that convey a real sense of that disconnection.
‘Forbidden’ has a real groovy intro and ballsy vocals from the off; it’s an invigorating ride into ‘The Other Side’, which is a completely different kettle of fish from the outset, with jingling guitars and an emotive vocal leading into brooding bass lines, punchy drumming and fierce riffage, making for a powerfully atmospheric song full of light and shade.
Basioli’s hard-hitting drums on ‘Shades’ are perfectly executed and work so well in harmony with Yamamoto’s grungy bass and Solera’s rhythm guitar. This song has that down n’ dirty driving beat that makes you want to pump your fist, wave your arms in the air, or tap your toe at the very least! Minelli’s grizzly vocals suit this style so well.
‘Door’ starts with a much softer vocal and subdued instrumentation but builds slowly in glorious peaks then dips to softer verses. It’s a real earworm that I have had stuck in my head for the past several days. Reportedly written about Minelli’s mother who passed away, ‘Angel’ is a beautiful song and fitting tribute, emotive and heartfelt.
‘Iris’ offers a diverse range of well-crafted, hook-laden, melodic songs that blend the hard rock influences of past decades with a strong and heavy, slightly aggressive edge that is bang up to date. It’s memorable and in your face. It’s impossible to keep still while this album is playing, I can imagine plenty of headbanging, hips swinging, fists pumping and hair flipping at a live show!
Enrico Minelli Vocals
Felipe Ruiz Guitars
Bruno Solera Guitars
Fabio Yamamoto Bass
Thiago Biasoli Drums
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