Today is Black Friday, which in the world of metal can only signal one thing; the release of ONI’s debut album, Ironshore. The Los Angeles-based progressive metal sextet has been one of the most buzzed about bands of the year, and Ironshore provides a clear indication why. Produced by the amazing Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Gojira, Megadeth), and featuring guest performances from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Devil You Know’s Francesco Artusato, ONI’s opening volley strikes an instant chord.
Fronted by vocalist Jake Oni in 2014, is namesake band also features the talents of Martin Andres and Brandon White on guitar, Chase Bryant on bass, Joe Greulich on drums, and Johnny ‘D’ DeAngelis on xylo-synth. Jake hails the band’s style as something of Dream Theater meets Slipknot, but ultimately ONI has its own signature sound. This week, as ONI is set to destroy the countryside with Children of Bodom and Exmortus, Metalholic caught up with Oni to chat about Ironshore, working with Josh Wilbur and Randy Blythe, and much more.
You guys recently released a play-through for the opening track “Barn Burner” which features Johnny D on his Xylo-Synth. It was really something of an eye opener to see and hear the impact he has on Oni’s sound.
“It brings it all together, right? Yeah, his tones change a lot, and a lot of it sits on top of each other, so on the play-through, it’s very obvious what parts he’s doing. It’s pretty cool.”
Your bassist, Chase Bryant, called ‘Barn Burner’ your get-in-the pit-or-die song? He said the inspiration for it came from a dream he had? Tell us the story.
“(Laughs) That is all correct. We just wanted a super heavy song, but at the same time it’s very soundscapy, and it has a lot of elements that we wanted to put in. [Chase] wrote the lyrics and then me and Josh [Wilbur, producer] rearranged them. It’s a definite style that we have, ‘Barn Burner.’ It’s a good representation of the band.”
Is there a song on the album that when you went into the studio you had an idea of what it was going to be but by the time you got done with it, it was almost a totally different song?
“Yeah, all of them (laughs). Every single one, probably. Like ‘Barn Burner’ for example; it turned out to have a lot more clean singing in it than we imagined. For whatever reason, that’s just how it turned out to be, and it wasn’t going to be that way. A lot of these songs we hadn’t been sitting on very long. We wanted to make this album fresh, so we just wrote everything new. We kind of just went along with it as we were going and we just changed things as we were going. It’s crazy how this album worked out.”
Tell us about the Randy Blythe connection. He plays on “The Only Cure.”
“It’s a ripping song. Super heavy. Super groovy. The song is about getting your chest cut open–pretty gnarly. That was a groovier, heavier song that’s an odd meter, but we still tried to make it bounce with the vocals. It’s always one of our heavier ones live and we like to play it early in the set. [Randy] even wrote part of ‘The Only Cure.’ Wrote some of the lyrics. Wrote some of the song. Tracked some of the song with us. His vocals are on it as well as mine, of course. He named the album Ironshore. He’s definitely a special part in the mix, if you will. Good friend of the band. Great guy overall.”
You can check out the full interview with Jake Oni below, catch the band’s video for “Eternal Recurrence” as well as the play-through for ‘Barn Burner”.