September 6, 2022

Confusion reigns! There seems to be much debate as to whether Onyria are Italian or French, as suggested by PR and others. Having turned to “The Reviewers Friend” (Wikipedia), I can confirm they stem from Bolzano, Italy. Founded in 2012 by vocalist Helena Pinna and guitarist Simon J. Gillman, the band have been compared to bands such as EvanescenceNightwish and Within Temptation, given their predilection for goth-metal and goth-rock. They have previously released one studio album, 2015’s Break The Silence. To add to the confusion they announced in June 2016 that the line-up was changing and the name was changing to Hellektra, they then announced in December of that year that they would reform with the original line-up and the original name! Keep up at the back, there!

*****

Onyria!

That brings us moreorless up to date, eight singles having been released in that time, before this year’s second full-length Feed The Monster. This is a more alt-rock/alt-metal affair than previously, for me sounding like a delicious mix of Skunk Anansie, Pat Benatar and Garbage, Helena’s vocals certainly giving them a distinctive edge over other similar bands. They’re often described as a duo, but that seems harsh given the tightness of the band as a whole so step forward and take a bow, Flo Magagnosc (drums) and Valerian Fourmy (bass) respectively!

*****

First up is Denial, an adrenalin-soaked number with a killer riff, it perfectly sets the scene for what’s to follow, all ten tracks being instantly accessible, with hugely catchy guitar work that matches Helena’s vast range of vocal tones and styles. Next track Living The Lie has been released as a single, it’s an obvious crowd-pleaser for live shows, full of breathless energy, attitude, and big vocal melodies, all blending into a massive tune. Great screams and riffs towards the end, it’s all very Benatar-like to my mind, great stuff!

No Obedience comes in with another simple choppy riff, again an intoxicating mix of vocal tones, hugely listenable. Be Yourself takes the pace down a chunk, some nice staccato guitar work from Simon, softer but still powerful vocals from Helena with a whopper of a chorus line. A stonking guitar solo comes in towards the end together with a vocal crescendo – this is just so radio-friendly! But the same goes for the whole album, I’m surprised I’ve not heard it getting airtime in the UK?

Drowning features some taut percussion at the beginning and some nicely sparse guitar lines, but it’s dominated by Helena’s full-on rock’n’roll howl – this is pure Pat Benatar, it’s a monster of a track! Insane is similarly up there with reverberating vocals swirling around a steamroller chord progression, impossible to keep still, it’s a sort of punk anthem but still fresh-sounding, Again very Benatar, again hugely engaging, huge chorus, massively radio-friendly! Little Man reveals a softer side to Helena’s vocals that, allied to a nicely clean, sparse arrangement of a simple guitar line and simple crisp percussion that makes this another worthy of repeated listening.

Blind Nation is, as the title suggests, a suitably anthemic New Wave ‘anti-corporate’ rabble-rouser, again a simple guitar riff driving a pacey rant in the best traditions of rock’n’roll! Still Here is then completely different, almost a ballad, the voice is simultaneously so strong, so fragile, its a great combination. And then a relatively rare slice of tasty lead guitar work just to top it off, another very powerful track. Price of Souls closes the song-set, it sounds very similar riff-wise to the opener and that might be intentional! When you’ve got a riff that good, why use it just the once! Vocally, this one’s more in the Shirley Manson vein of scorching lyrics and scorching voice, again it’s aurally arresting, another big chorus!

*****

This is a really strong collection of songs, there isn’t a single stand-out track as such but the whole represents a hugely listenable album with all ten tracks being decent. There’s certainly no “filler” in here! It’s a nicely produced album, it’ll be very interesting to see where this talented band go next.

Price Of Souls