Black Onassis - Desensitized

Black Onassis: Desensitized [Album Review]

Words by Justine McNamara.

Black Onassis is the new project for former Kasabian guitarist Chris Karloff. For anyone expecting some straight up rock and roll, you’re going to be very disappointed. Desensitized is a genre-hopping mish-mash of words and sounds, sometimes hard to follow, but still worth a listen. It’ll keep you guessing, moving and wondering: “what’s next?”

The title track opens the album, and slowly builds into a pounding mix of sounds and vocals. The vocal loop and repetition gives it an eeriness, and the lyrics “my lover to the end” add to this. The track fizzles out abruptly and we’re given no time to recover. ‘Humans:Animals’ is a pumping track, using only drums and synths with an indecipherable vocal loop over the top. The song grinds, bumps and goes everywhere in between, with a quick tempo and cracking riff.

‘TripB’ provides some melody and contrast early on, something I can’t help but be grateful for. The first two tracks are great – but having a break from that intensity makes the rest of the album easier to listen to. This track is a lot more upbeat, with a quicker tempo and brighter vocals, and layers more instruments. It’s my pick for the standout track on this album, it’s impossible not to love it.

The rest of Desensitized seems to go by in a flash. It builds up, comes down, and gets really intense then backs off a bit. Any time you think you’re getting used to a certain sound, tempo or style, the next track will take you back to square one. Just when you’ve gotten right into the grinding drum beats and bizarre vocal loops, ‘Ether’ starts. Like ‘TripB,’ it’s another more melodic song with beautiful lyrics and haunting vocals. It’s not the last track on the album but it probably should be; the real closer, ‘Minus Track’, goes for 46 seconds. And after the crazily energetic ‘Adhd,’ I would’ve liked some more recovery time.

Desensitized is an album best suited to gym time, or perhaps, to get you worked up to go out on a rainy night. It’s definitely worth a listen but anyone who likes their albums consistent, be warned – this one isn’t for you. This isn’t to say it’s a bad album, or that Black Onassis aren’t talented. That’s not the case at all. There is a lot of talent and promise here, and it will be interesting to see how this album is received.

Rating: ★★★

Here’s is the album’s lead single, ‘Brain’ featuring Ben Gautrey:

Black Onassis’ debut album Desensitized is out on September 23. Pre-order a copy now.

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