Onus Vinyl, CD & tapes by Onus at Norman Records

Showing all 3 item(s) found.  

Survival Burden

Housed in an icy seascape lino-print, the second Onus release, ‘Survival Burden’ opens with the expansive, oceanic basslines and crashing drums of ‘Urchins’ and ‘Ensimismada’ –with knotty narratives about slums, tsunamis and frozen time, rising up beyond the edges like freak cephalopods from the melodic waves and dissonant undertow. Then we have the claustrophobic space-rock of ‘Headguest’ before side A closes with ‘Schrine’; where a mesmeric build-up of dense arpeggios powers a chant on the arbitrariness of identity. Side B takes us back out to sea with ‘Macey’s Letter’, with a sweet melodic motif engulfed in cascading bass and staggered drum patterns as words about ships, nations adrift and floating coffins are wrung out of the wash. ‘Colt Running’ is a tremolo-twang pop tune about equine abattoirs and ‘Emil’ –a cold-war dirge about skeletons in ashen forests. ‘Nerve Clinic’ ends the set, gleaning odd pearls from a gone-to-seed farmer, housed in a criss-cross glasshouse frame of gleaming bass and cymbal ricochet.


Reeling out of the zeitgeist, the second album from Atlantikwall presents an (un)timely reminder of the ruinous folly of fortified borders –ever destined to regress into the deformed remnants of ideological excess. The album revels in layers of animalistic, braying, frog-calling guitars that form lurching texture puzzles that stagger and collapse around cyclical-shift drum patterns and primitivist grooves. These foundations harbour fragmented vocal chants, congealing into elongated songs that address themes of last-ditch reproduction in the face of impending extinction; resource wars fought by farmers in lands encroached by desertification; reinstatement of human sacrifice as response to environmental catastrophe; lone refugee journeys and modern-day wall-building as psychic splitting.


Debut by Onus presenting six tunes honed from baritone guitar, bass and drums, each hosting intricate, chorus-sung narratives from vague and seemingly remote space-time locations. The music is dark-toned and downbeat; with descending arpeggios and sparse cyclical riffs a-plenty, interlocking with skeletal drums to provide lean bones for nebulous melodies and scuffed harmonies to take hold. Lyrically, the album opens up snapshots of rewilded outskirts, ritual humiliation, generational rifts and dispossessions; mining deep veins of residual cultural memory vivid enough to feel like premonitions. Lighter relief is to be had with more abstract grapplings with mapping the unknowable and framing a response to divine silence. Limited to a measly 50 cassettes with lino-print sleeves, each including a download code.