Omar Bowing – “Restrained”

 Omar Bowing – “Restrained”

Omar Bowing – “Restrained” – Single Review

You know, for such a heavy sound & style of music, Omar Bowing sure finds a way to put art into metal.

I use metal as one of the terms you could use to describe his band’s sound…you could just as easily call it progressive, alternative & even hard-rock at times…just depends on the song.  I’ve had the luxury of reviewing their tunes over the past several years and have always found something incredible to listen to in the polymorphic music they choose to make – you can bank on this band to be as complex as they are compelling.  Back with their latest single “Restrained,” released officially on Halloween of this year, their gripping new song questions our decision making process and where it does/doesn’t lead us.

First thing I noticed on the new single as it started was the deadly sound of the toms pounding thunderously and the magnificent, powerful tones on the drums in behind the wickedly low-vocals that open their new song.  Then you notice the ripping bass-lines and how immediately intricate & essential these parts quickly become to the flow of “Restrained” – and then that good ol’ guitarviol courtesy of the namesake of the project comes storming in.  According to my notes here, there isn’t actually any guitar on this new single – everything you’ll hear that you’d think is guitar is Omar Bowing on his guitarviol, which you’ll hear has an extremely versatile sound; at times you’ll swear it’s a guitar, at others it distinctly offers a haunting sound that you’d never be able to pull off with any kind of normal Stratocaster.  That key element of Omar Bowing’s music has always been an integral part of the overall sound and perhaps an even more essential aspect of what makes them unique and sets them apart from the rest of the bands out there today.  Though the songs we’ve reviewed from Omar Bowing have always been incredibly different from track-to-track, there is also an undeniable signature sound in this band that keeps their catalog cohesive.  If you’re a fan, you should be able to identify their music through the challenging timing & pace they often set for themselves, the eerie & ethereal atmospheres they create, the often poetic nature & structure of their lyrics, and of course, that hallmark uniqueness that having a guitarviol brings to their entire sound.  “Restrained” has all their classic moves and more.

What’s really working in their favor this time around is the structure and how engaging, diverse and different each part of “Restrained” is part-to-part.  As you’d expect from this talented crew, the transitions are flawless, which is quite an achievement in this particular song, considering how much each part changes from the part before.  Instrumentation and musicianship are on display at every turn and I think they’ve really found a way to make each piece of this song as captivating as it is as a whole.

Where I think extra credit is deserved on “Restrained” is all in the vocal-department here.  The connection to the words is more than achieved – it’s screaming loudly.  I think people will dig the sound of singer Tyson Yen’s rhythmic approach to the verses…but MAN, if the people somehow don’t dig the incredible power this guy puts into the chorus…well…those people would have to be listening with the wrong holes in their body.  Because when Yen yells out “Restrained” in the single-word chorus…that is…EVERYTHING.  Not a piece, not half, not three-quarters of awesome, it is EVERYTHING.

I’m going to go deeper into why that is when we rock this new Omar Bowing song on tomorrow’s new episode of the SBS Podcast – so make sure to tune-in to that for more details on “Restrained.”  For now, let me just say that when this part of the chorus happens, it’s a highlight example of the strength of the connection between the vocals and lyrics.  Having Yen rip his throat out perfectly gives meaning to the frustration that can come with feeling “Restrained” by your decisions and where they do/don’t take you – essentially that frustration of how even when you think you’re making the right decisions for yourself, you can still end up in the wrong place.  TELL ME you don’t relate to that – you do so!  There would be precious-few people on this planet that wouldn’t be able to understand this incalculable & incomprehensible mix of rage & hurt of the unknown…the pain of making decisions in effort to move forward, only to find yourself held back…”Restrained.”

So believe me…when Yen yells out that chorus, you bloody-well fuckin’ FEEL it shake your core…because deep-down, you’ve experienced exactly what this song is all about and know what they’re saying is true.

Seriously stoked for the entire Omar Bowing crew – I think they’ve made themselves another fine monsterpiece with the beastly sounds of “Restrained,” but also a track that flexes such enormous strengths in its structure & composition that it can’t help but hold ALL of your attention at once.  That could be a hidden meaning in the song, albeit unintentional perhaps – “Restrained” = the fact that you won’t leave your speakers when this new single starts to play or be able to do anything else until that final release occurs in the brilliant ending where the doors open to a potentially brighter day as the haunting atmosphere in the final moments guide you out of the dark and into the light.

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