Boston’s THE OFFERING are anything but orthodox. Formed in 2015, the high-flying quartet have a way of cleverly suffusing all their influences—from black and death to heavy and modern to thrash and power to nü and hardcore—into their story-like songs. Over time (and across many refinement sessions), THE OFFERING have developed their all-in dynamic into a signature sound. Set aflight by Alex Richichi’s multi-faceted five-diamond vocals, broadened by Nishad George’s well-schooled and creative guitar gambols, and anchored by Steve Finn’s prodigious percussive work, THE OFFERING’s ascent into heavy metal’s upper stratosphere has been swift. The group’s self-titled debut EP (released in 2017’s to rapturous feedback) not only proved the heavy metal bar had been raised by THE OFFERING’s enterprising genre whisk but also that reinvention of traditional tenets was distinctly possible given a fresh, broad-minded perspective.
“Our music is beautifully violent, and surprisingly self-mutilating,” singer Alex Richichi says. “It is sonically familiar yet so unique that it sounds new. Though our technical abilities and proficiencies are great on paper, it is our relentless songwriting that will win people over.”
Having shared the stage with Primal Fear, Rhapsody of Fire, and 36 Crazyfists, as well as completed several national U.S. tours—mostly recently with shock-rock outfit Genitorturers and Echo Black—THE OFFERING’s on-stage brilliance is equal to their on-album radiance. To wit, the group’s persistent sense of boundless adventure is on full display on their new debut album, HOME. In many ways, the Puritan City quartet—comprised of Richichi (vocals), George (guitar), Finn (drums), and Spencer Metela (bass)—have peers in Devin Townsend, Leprous, and Pain of Salvation, but the wild swings between genres are wilder, the pendulum of moods stranger and stronger, and the drive distinctly American. From brain-bending opener “Waste Away” to the kaleidoscopic savagery of mid-album stunner “Failure (S.O.S)” to the epic 14-minute lay that is the title track, HOME is precocious, spirited, untrammeled, and positively captivating.
“The EP felt a little predictable,” says guitarist George. “Everything fell where you expected it; it was an example of solid execution over safe writing. In hindsight, everyone in the band felt like they had to compromise because we had conflicting goals. People ‘stayed in their lane’ for fear of stepping on each other’s toes. I wanted none of that with HOME. I wanted everyone to spread their wings and be the musicians they always wanted to be and to help each other see that through with complementing parts. I wanted the band to feel like one giant instrument, where we changed lanes at a hundred miles an hour with no crashes. We couldn’t have made this record in 2017; we needed the four years of chemistry to develop that unified goal for us as a group.”
The songwriting sessions for HOME weren’t that different from what THE OFFERING were accustomed to on the self-titled EP. That is to say, George wrote, shared, re-wrote, and then nailed down the songs with Richichi and Finn. The distillation of ideas would then begin anew until they had a song THE OFFERING principals were satisfied with. In all, the group toiled for over a year to get HOME into its respective lane. The Bostonians added firepower by enlisting famous Swedish studio guru Fredrik Nordström—who proclaimed, “This is the most crazy and insane music I ever worked with; I love it!”—to mix and master. The end result of HOME is eight songs of emotionally intense, expertly played cross-pollinated heavy metal that’s absolutely next-gen.
“It’s no secret that we wear a ton of influences across different genres,” George says. “I think the benefit of being influenced across genres is that you can bring something fresh to metal. Rock and metal are unique in the sense that you can break the rules at will; there’s a reason why the subgenre list for metal is crazy. I just want the band to offer an experience that I myself can’t get anywhere else. If I want to listen to a Metallica record, I have forty years’ worth of that sound to go back to. So, as far as that has to do with songwriting, it’s like choosing colors on a painting. We’re creating something, but we don’t want too much of the same color for the entire picture, and our choice of color should never distract us or be the main focus of the statement of the piece.”
Even though THE OFFERING are technically proficient and musically savvy their goal isn’t to be flashy because they can. Rather, they seek a deeper and wider connection to their audience through their music. Lyrically, this is also Richichi’s objective. There’s a lot of escapism out there—from dragons and Vikings to horror and gore—but THE OFFERING find solace in opening up who they are, what they are, and how they belong. Essentially, [Abraham] Maslowian suggestions on ‘belonging’ through the lens of Richichi’s own personal experiences. From “Waste Away” and “A Dance with Diana” to “Ultraviolence” and “Glory,” the frontman leaves no closet unexplored or personal darkness unlit. The connection between the music and the lyrics provides multiple entry points for listeners on HOME.
“HOME’s about feeling small, inconsequential, forgotten, wasted, and questioning how you fit in,” says Richichi. “My attempt is to see if anyone feels the same anymore. Or am I the only one? And if I'm not, where did everyone go? Lyrically, in this band, no word has one meaning—including HOME. Home, the word, is meant to be a haven, but instead it’s often the root of our traumas. We try not to think about what home we’re born into and how it’s tied to our fate, and how we are ultimately a reflection of our home, our upbringing. It shows us our limitations, how we interpret ‘safety.’ I would like this album to be a ‘home’ that houses people of the same mind, those who can find it as a type of refuge, especially in 2019 where so many of these emotions aren’t accessible to be openly talked about with loved ones. HOME is meant to show that you’re not alone.”
THE OFFERING put HOME to perpetuity at Carriage House Studios (Pantera, Fates Warning, Deftones) and various DIY setups across New England. The whole setup took the better part of six months to complete. HOME is not only crazy-good sounding—listen to “Lovesick” and “Failure (S.O.S)” on headphones, for example—it’s a blast to spin at obscene volumes front to back. Self-produced by George, mixed and mastered by famed Swedish producer Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (In Flames, Opeth, Architects), HOME was meticulously curated and masterfully captured. That it has direct ties—Finn used parts of Abe Cunningham’s drum set (from Deftone’s Around the Fur sessions) on “A Dance with Diana” and set up his main kit in the same spot Vinnie Paul used for Pantera’s Cowboys of Hell—to the history that binds THE OFFERING to its influences posits HOME in a league all its own.
“Carriage House Studios was a blast,” George says. “We do our auxiliary instruments and drums at studios when we record, but it’s really a toy store for me and a nonstop concert of Steve bashing the drums like an animal for the rest of us. I would basically wake up a few hours before the guys, scavenge this awesome, almost haunted, LA-style studio for crazy auxiliary instruments to record for layers, and then, once Steve woke up, I’d run him for 12-16 hours on the set. That isn’t an exaggeration at all. We were so pumped on adrenaline in a museum loaded with music history and vintage gear that we couldn’t sit still.”
THE OFFERING’s HOME is out August 2nd, 2019. Featuring a striking and mystical album cover by Polish artist Dawid Planeta, lead singles “Lovesick,” “Ultraviolence,” and “Failure (S.O.S),” and a Fredrik Nordström mix/master, HOME is the sound of a new wave as yet unnamed but so full of promise the very foundations of heavy metal are quaking. To say THE OFFERING will polarize metaldom isn’t hyperbole but fact. They crisscross, invert, and fold out so many facets of their influences on HOME that’s hard to pin down THE OFFERING. But that’s exactly what the citizens of Titletown—yes, THE OFFERING—want. To disrupt creatively, sonically, and emotionally.
“At this point in time we have invested so much energy in this project, if our sound doesn’t catch, then I fear that metal will become an art form that celebrates its roots rather than pushing boundaries,” Richichi says. “We’re not here to just celebrate our roots. We’re here to push the notion of what metal is, and what it can be.”