Bad Omens exceed boundaries on their self-titled full-length debut for Sumerian Records. It’s something of a mission statement for the Los Angeles-based quintet—Noah Sebastian [vocals], Nicholas Ryan [guitar], Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson [guitar], Vincent Riquier [bass], and Nick Folio [drums].
“We tried to spread awareness about being open minded when it comes to heavy music,” exclaims Noah. “We wanted to go beyond the realm of heavy and incorporate everything from industrial to soundtrack-style moments.”
It’s a goal that Noah’s possessed since first writing for what would become Bad Omens in 2013. The Richmond, VA native logged time in a prominent local band, but he wanted to focus on his own artistic vision. He wrote and recorded a handful of solo songs without mentioning a word to anybody. When it came time to recruit other players, he linked up with old friend Nicholas. He added another buddy Vincent who introduced him to “Jolly”—all the way in Sweden. Nick joined last after submitting a cover online.
“The band started as me and two of my close friends and two other guys I’d never even met outside of Face Time or Skype,” he smiles. “This music just spoke to everyone, and we felt a bond.”
It also spoke to Sumerian Records who offered Bad Omens a deal in 2015 based off the strength of the demos and songwriting. The guys spent months rehearsing in Nick’s basement before hitting the studio with Will Putney [Upon A Burning Body, The Amity Affliction, Body Count] to record the album.
“We chose Will because he specializes in a more raw sound,” Noah goes on. “It’s not over-produced. It’s real.”
Early 2016 saw the group unveil the single “The Worst In Me.” With its jagged riffs, sweeping harmonies, and towering chorus, the track immediately set the internet ablaze, racking up over 860,000 views on YouTube in less than a month.
“For me personally, it’s about a very intense and unhealthy relationship I was in, but we wrote it in a format that’s universal to all bad habits,” he says. “More specifically, it’s something you can’t let go of even though it’s not good for you—whether it’s a relationship, a drug problem, or terrible situation. You’re addicted.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the record concludes with the sprawling epic “The Fountain.” Tempering an industrialized hum and sweeping soundscapes punctuated by flutes and booming war drums, Alternative Press debuted the cinematic music video.
“We watched The Fountain with Hugh Jackman while we were recording,” he goes on. “It’s a sci-fi thriller romance with an insane plot and 3 different universes. The romantic aspect resonated with me. It’s unique for us and metal at large, because we’re using a lot of atypical instruments.”
Over the past year, Bad Omens has amassed a diehard following, delivering live alongside everyone from Born of Osiris and After the Burial to Veil of Maya, Upon a Burning Body, and Erra. Now, they’re ready to break more ground.
“I want people to feel inspired the way I do when I listen to music, because I’m listening all day,” Noah leaves off. “I want to share that inspiration to do something different.”