Omnibadger – Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III

Posted: 8 May 2023 in Albums
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Cruel Nature Records – 26th May 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

If ever a band could be defined by constant flux and evolution it’s this Derby duo, who began life as Omnibael before becoming the more frivolous-sounding Omnibadger. Working their way through doom-grunge riffery to all-out industrial electronic noise, theirs has been an interesting journey thus far, and one that it would seem is by no means over yet.

So many acts set themselves into a mould and stick to its form for the duration of their career. Some may find a market and thrive in it, but for many, it becomes a trajectory of diminishing returns as they plough the same rut over the course of successive albums, as things become evermore predictable and wearisome, and people lose interest. But then, so many acts make a radical shift and lose a substantial part of their audience in the process. You simply cannot win.

Only, Omnibadger have done things differently: they have spent their career trying to decide who they are, meaning each release has been different, with one release often landing leagues apart from its predecessor. To say that they’ve spent their career deciding may suggest that search is now complete, but that would be a wrong conclusion: that quest continues, and likely will: Omnibager exist to eternally push the boundaries, to seek, to progress, to evolve. There is no linear progression, only expansion.

It all kicks off from the outset with ‘Lick One’, and it gives little away in many respects: it’s a semi-ambient collage of rumbling noise which gives way to tribal percussion, and it’s a confusion of collage that’s difficult to find a hold in. But that’s no criticism: it’s tedious knowing what you’re going got get for the entirety of an album from the first four bars. And this isn’t a ’bars’ album: it’s a hotch-potch sonic soup where rhythm really is not a dominant element, and at times isn’t even present at all.

‘Speeding Ground (Part 1)’ is an epic electronic exploration, stun lasers and gleeps and glops and trilling top-end drones shrill and challenging, like a Star wars scene – and then it goes hypno-prog, a thumping rhythm backing a screeding sheet of noise. And on it goes, thumping and thundering a relentless beat. At Nearly fourteen minutes, it’s a monster.

‘F.I.X.’ slams in some gnarly electro stylings, with undulating synths and insistent, fretful beats twitching away as a backdrop to howling vocals. It’s as if Gnaw Their Tongues and Cabaret Voltaire had bit in a head on collision. There’s no winner here, just a mangled, smoking mess. And as if to reinforce the point, ‘You Never Tell Me What You Think’ crashes in with a nagging bass groove and aa shedload of aggro, and battering away at a simple monotonous grind while the vocals are mixed low in a ton of reverb with the treble cranked to the max, it sound like early Revolting Cocks. Elsewhere, ‘But What I Want Is Not the Most Important Thing Right Now’ spins like an outtake from Pretty Hate Machine, all mangles electronics and gritty guitar.

Clocking in at over ten minutes, final track ‘Equations for a Falling Body’ is the album’s second monolithic piece, and it grinds and scrapes and sheers and saws it way through its duration. Within a couple of minutes, it’s built to a full-throttle racket of discordant electronic chaos, a tempest of noise.

That’s ultimately a reasonable description of Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III (their second album, which is largely guitar-free) overall: audacious, like Throbbing Gristle ironically calling their first (and second) release ‘best of’ and their second album First Annual Report.

By way of a ‘difficult’ second album, with Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III, the only difficulty is for the listener, who is faced with a harsh and challenging listen. But for all of its racket and unpredictable nature, the experience is rewarding, and even enjoyable in a perverse way.



  1. […] Apotheosis Animæ exists on another sonic plane form the grating industrial noise of Omnibadger’s Famous Guitar Licks Vol. III. They’re a sort of Yin and Yang: the world definitely needs both, and I personally need both, […]

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