Originally a living room jam band, Onward We March has evolved into something much more over the years. This is a band that has pushed itself to become a force in the southern metal scene. Mixing classic elements of Heavy Metal with new and old Progressive styles, Onward We March has shades of Opeth, Mastodon, Pink Floyd, and maybe a pinch of Meshuggah influence. It makes for a good sound. And they bring it on their new EP “Ocean Harvest”, which is due for a December 1st release.
After the departure of their previous singer, the band has been constructing “Ocean Harvest” to differentiate themselves from their previous work. Guitarist Tito Lopez comments, “We released a 6 song album last year with our old singer. And he quit right as we released the album… So this is a 3 song EP to showcase our new singer and show everyone the new direction we are taking since we basically scrapped everything from the old album. You can listen to the old album on Spotify for comparison.”
They entered the studio with Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Damageplan, Hell Yeah) to record the three track EP. They wanted to bring something new to the table with new singer Chris Hobbs while pushing themselves on all fronts, but did they succeed?
I would say yes. This band brings a good modern progressive metal record with roots still planted in the past. The new singer has a really cool, classic quality to his delivery which can be eerie at times. He’s not always spot on but he keeps things interesting. Chris leads the march well. Instrumentally, this is a good release. You can tell this was a jam band because they have great chemistry. I could be wrong, but these songs flow like they were recorded live which is always a plus. Some sections really stand out as you listen.
The title track, “Ocean Harvest” kicks off the EP well. Without getting into too much detail, this track flows nicely. I enjoy the large chorus and there’s a particularly awesome melodic segment driving the second half of this song. It shares this in common with the next track, “Trust Me”, which has great melodic work before a heavy end. This song has particularly awesome bass lines and ambient work. Probably my favorite song on “Ocean Harvest”. The final track “Vigo” is by far the heaviest of the trio. It’s the only track without clean vocals as it carries out the EP with a heavy onslaught. Good stuff.
“Ocean Harvest” is a great effort, but there are some flaws. These songs could sound HUGE with better production! All the instruments are audible but the experience could come through clearer and on a bigger scale. It’s cool that they worked with Sterling Winfield, but it sounds murky at times. Certain segments could also be tighter musically. Another note, Chris is a great fit for this band, but as I mentioned before, he isn’t always spot on with his singing. Either way, major respect for not using pitch correction! Those are my only real criticisms next to a few very minor blemishes on an otherwise good release.
To sum things up, this EP is recommended to everyone who enjoys progressive music with a classic twist. It’s a good listen. Onward We March will have a CD release show at the Boiler Room down in the Lone Star state on the release date. So if you live down south, you know what to do! Listen to “Ocean Harvest” and “Trust Me” above. And if you enjoy the music, be sure to grab it December 1st!