March 30, 2022 Bad Omens – The Death of Peace of Mind (Album Review)
Since their 2016 debut, Bad Omens has gained a reputation that has everyone uttering their name—from Twitch banter to YouTube reactions, you can’t escape it. So, the arrival of their latest, The Death of Peace of Mind, might bring its own fodder for gossip, what with the album’s somber reckoning on the struggles inherent in relationships and the hypocrisy of modern life. And why Bad Omens might even ask us, is making bad decisions so damn attractive? Feel free to attack social media with all of your answers when Sumerian Records issues the record on February 25, 2022.
Another option is, of course, to keep your opinions about the little Richmond, Virginia quartet that could to your friend-sphere. Either way, you probably already know that Bad Omens is the brainchild of Frontman Noah Sebastian, they issued an outstanding debut in 2016 and thereby created an instant buzz that landed them a spot on the beloved Vans Warped Tour in 2017. This, in turn, paved the way for tours alongside the likes of Parkway Drive, spreading their name across the globe. Then, somewhere along the way, they earned themselves a loyal fanbase who were eager to show their dedication, spread the love, and enlist others into the fandom.
Now, with their third full-length release, Bad Omens—Sebastian, Guitarist Joakim Karlsson, Bassist Nicholas Ruffilo, and Drummer Nick Folio—find themselves in a bit of a precarious position. Their name now on so many young tongues, the 15-song The Death of Peace of Mind has to deliver on its unspoken promises if they hope to keep their momentum. Fans desperately want more bangers and naysayers seemingly want to write the foursome off as just another Bring Me the Horizon wannabe. So, will the record be enough to hold listeners’ attention while proving once and for all that Sebastian and co. are hardly ripping off Oli Sykes and his post-humans?
No time is wasted as they open to the sultry synths of “Concrete Jungle,” introducing a Bad Omens that, in just over five years, has evolved far beyond their eponymous debut. Yet it works: Sebastian’s voice fits the format flawlessly and the greater extremes establish a vicious nuance that emphasizes each of the lyrical throw-backs to the quartet’s previous works. It’s a strong introduction that builds off the momentum built on 2019’s Finding God Before God Finds Me, calling to mind the brilliant single “Be Careful What You Wish For.”
But The Death of Peace of Mind is not a simple sequel. While it’s obvious that comparisons will persist between these Virginians and the Deathcore band that blossomed into international mega-stars, Bad Omens’ latest is better described as a sensual twining of amo with The Plot In You’s Dispose or The Word Alive’s Monomania; violent mastery of melody along with youthful energy and ideas. It’s something that is heard on “Take Me First,” as Sebastian channels his inner Telle Smith to deliver haunting emotion laden with heavy Pop sensibilities, as well as on the candid final track, “Miracle,” a song that shares similarities with Bring Me the Horizon’s “why you gotta kick me when I’m down.”
Then there are the moments that shock—mostly for the influences they evoke. Particularly the undulating electronics of “Who Are You?” and “Somebody Else,” a pair of tracks that could easily be credited to the likes of Justin Bieber. Which is a clear sign of the band’s growing comfort with their evolving talents as well as their ability to fearlessly defy genre and formula. From the ambiguous morality of “Bad Decisions” to melodic rocker “Nowhere To Go,” they use these matured skills to paint a deeply personal picture of the human experience in 2022.
Providing tickets to their autopsy, Bad Omens lays bare their struggles to keep sane as they search for peace amid their rising stardom (“IDWT$”), weather flawed and failed relationships (“The Death of Peace of Mind,” “Just Pretend,” “The Grey”) and continue to wage war against the deliciousness of sin. Underneath it all, the positive pull of self-awareness allows the collection to transcend its emotional core as its creators detail even the most brutally honest of material with sultry ease.
Sure, chances are taken by conjoining certain tracks to create a continuous experience (“What It Cost,” “Like A Villain”), but they are careful to offer their early fans those highly coveted moments of pummeling Metal. For proof, just turn your attention toward the blistering Hardcore mash-up of “Artificial Suicide,” the collection’s boldest banger, as well as the Industrial leanings of “What Do You Want From Me?,” a song with enough filthy bass and sinful groove to make Rammstein blush with envy. In this, much like their forebears in that eclectic British band, Bad Omens are more than happy to trample over expectations, bringing about a triumphant death to self-inflicted boundaries.
As cliché as it may sound, The Death of Peace of Mind truly does offer something for everyone, provided you enter with an open mind. With Sebastian flaunting his vocal range and his bandmates firing on all cylinders, they provide a collection of genre-defying Rock-n-Roll that is not afraid to dig through the trenches to expose its own darkest struggles. From digital fiction to the games we play with ourselves, they wade through the violent noise in search of something more. Born of personal pain, their latest is an album that will have people talking.
Of course, haters will continue to loathe every step along the trajectory of Bad Omens’ career, but one thing is abundantly clear: this is a band that knows what they want and how to get it. Are they worth the hype? Yeah, yeah they actually are. For this, Cryptic Rock gives The Death of Peace of Mind 5 out of 5 stars.