Artist: On My Behalf
Album: Oeuvre – EP
Oeuvre is a tricky title for an EP—on one hand, it literally means the summation of work by a particular artist; so, as the debut EP by Michigan metalcore outfit On My Behalf, it isn’t an inaccurate title. However, on the other hand, Oeuvre bears striking similarity to the French word for “opening” (also “egg,” aside the point). In this sense, Oeuvre also fits—as the opening cavalcade from a young but talented collection of musicians. In a short but stunning collection of tracks, the group make a remarkable impression, carving out a solid niche for themselves in the densely populated Michigan metal scene. On My Behalf are an astonishing outfit, combining hard-hitting grooves and crunchy breakdowns with moments of breathtaking melody to create a dynamic, immersive sound that fans of everything from progressively tinted -core to brazen, bare-knuckle metalcore to sink their teeth into.
Somewhere between Like Moths to Flames and Erra, On My Behalf combine heaviness and atmosphere in a manner some bands have spent an entire discography trying to perfect. Percussionist Josh Racine works diligently throughout the entirety of Oeuvre, creating astonishing heaviness on the EP’s title track while also laying back and giving guitarists Kenny Thompson and Justin Bora room to create an ethereal, ambient atmos on “By My Side.” Lead guitarist Bora shines with dizzying leads—especially abundant on “Horizons”—and grisly breakdowns that define the closing seconds of “By My Side” and “Bridges//Barriers.” He works excellently with Thompson (Introvert, Dethrone the Deceiver) to keep enough heaviness dotted throughout the release without forgetting their progressive and high-energy roots. The climactic breakdown of “Bridges//Barriers” is the culmination of the band’s entire instrumental balance—with Racine’s drumming roaring ahead full-bore, bolstered by bassist Daniel McKay thick tone and bouncy candor paving the way for Bora and Thompson to chug and groove their way into one of the most infectiously catchy salvos of heaviness the back half of 2018 has seen or heard.
On My Behalf’s heavy-soft balance is further exemplified by the group’s vocal efforts. Frontman Erin Hopkins’s harsh mid-range tells dominate throughout much of Oeuvre, giving bassist McKay several key segments of soaring, cleanly sung expertise to amplify the balance that the band so expertly strike between aggression and ambience. “By My Side” and “Sickened” see McKay’s cleanly sung vocals shining—where “Bridges//Barriers” sees Tre Turner (of Spirit Breaker) lending a helping hand during the aforementioned awe-inspiring climactic breakdown. Hopkins is, more than he is a vocal force, a lyrical powerhouse—as several of his vocal segments are solid without being jaw-dropping, his lyricism, coupled with McKay’s tidbits, keep the listener engrossed in every word he screams or that McKay sings. In this fashion, On My Behalf take a solid vocal showing and step it up a notch.
Oeuvre is a breakout EP that I’ll bet just about no one was expecting—a true Christmas gift. On My Behalf are stunning at what they do, filling a void in Michigan—and maybe the Midwest—that many might not have recognized was there. Sounding similar to Of Glaciers or a less bitter Like Moths to Flames, On My Behalf is a band you should take it upon yourselves to familiarize yourself with.
For Fans Of: Of Glaciers, Like Moths to Flames, Erra, Lightworkers
By: Connor Welsh