Onward to Olympas This World Is Not My Home

Hailing from a state with a burgeoning metal scene, North Carolina natives Onward to Olympas deliver a solid first release with The World Is Not My Home. Although they look to fellow Carolinians like Beloved and Between the Buried and Me for inspiration, Onward to Olympas sound nothing like a rip-off. Opener "Unstoppable" feels like a wicked rollercoaster ride, as guitarists Justin Gage and Andrew Higginbotham swiftly move from succinct chugging to two-step to whirling death metal riffs. The band give you no downtime, as every track is tight and fast. Lyrically, vocalist Kramer Lowe (sounding like Throwdown's Dave Peters) keeps the mood positive, with the album's overall theme about building self-esteem and confidence, accented by gang vocals like "this is the start of something new." The only time Lowe falters is on "Her Best Words Were Goodbye," which reads like a typical hardcore heartbreak song, sounding like a milder Acacia Strain. Top tracks include "Sink Or Swim," featuring sweet-sounding melodic singing from guitarist Gage, and "Don't Cry To Me," with sludgy, Southern-style riffs. (Facedown)