It’s safe to say that nobody sounds like The Offering, yet The Offering sound like everybody. Since their inception in 2015, this US four piece have honed their scattered influences before churning out this debut full length. The result is intriguing pastiche of gateway metal that also dabbles effectively in the more brutal melodic waters trodden by Soilwork, Bleeding Through and In Flames.

Kicking off with “Waste Away”, the album lays down its intention to not adhere to any single set of metal tropes, initially borrowing from Machine Head, but getting to the point with a change of gear into Disturbed mode very quickly. “Lovesick” comes next, conjuring visions of Avenged Sevenfold with its optimistic galloping melodies and overabundant lead playing at the fore.

“Ultraviolence” may well serve to be the albums standout song. It opens with an emotive lead harmony before descending into a Slipknot beat, however the butterfly emerging from this initially stagnant cocoon is one of tight technical riffing and melodies, chasing subgenres throughout a song of many changes. “A Dance With Diana” again veers from genre to genre without sounding too disjointed, the brooding power groove soon giving way to a technical progressive flourishes.

“Failure (SOS)” serves up an eclectic blend that has me imagining what System Of A Down covering Disturbed might sound like, whilst “Hysteria” brings more of the Avenged Sevenfold fretboard theatrics, adding a dose of Trivium’s tempered consistency. “Glory” provides plenty of hooks in what feels like an album closer, but it’s the surprisingly epic 15 minute title track that ends proceedings in a jaw-dropping manner.

Despite pulling from a wide range of influences, The Offering do not commit the same sin that Machine Head have of late by trying to be all things to all people, instead maintaining remarkable focus. What could have very easily been an overly contrived mess is instead now an outsider bet for “next big thing”.

Their musicianship and focus clearly abundant, The Offering are now left with a difficult decision in which direction to develop; streamline their techy prog chops for critical acclaim, or streamline their hooks for a bigger audience? Either way, the band have already won over this initial sceptic.

(7/10 Doogz)