Metal merchants unleash new album and tour

Osmium will play at Tillerman’s in Invercargill on January 25.
Osmium will play at Tillerman’s in Invercargill on January 25.

They started off as a tribute band to punk legends the Ramones and Sex Pistols, but the Invercargill boys Osmium are in town next weekend to deliver their latest album that is pure, thunderous metal.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Cameron Leslie is circumspect about who he and bass player Doug Heath and drummer William Powell are touring with later this year, but their 2012 album The Misery Harvest, is driving Osmium up there with Shihad, Sinate and The Heavy Metal Ninjas.

Their latest self-produced album follows their 2008 release Relentless Primal Being.

A loaded tour schedule is balanced out with sheep farming in Otago for Leslie, which gives him ample opportunity to write songs in his head with the dark, melodic sound and lyrics, evident in the new album.

The Awakening, the first track on the album, opens gently and then erupts with the surging guitar charge that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The sixth track on the album Dark Poet - based on the late American comedian Bill Hick's famous quotes; "I don't fit in anywhere, that's my problem" and "I'm the little dark poet, that's who I am" - colour much of the 10-track album, which was inspired by the life of Hicks, who died of pancreatic cancer at 32 in 1994.

The band's tour dubbed Wolf At Your Throat, is hitting 11 cities around the country this month and next, giving fans a chance to get a feel for their sound, which they describe as "a unique fusion of grunge, rock and metal".

Time and age have done their sound well, Leslie says, citing Metallica as an influence, since he started teaching himself guitar off the internet at age 16.

He always wanted to form a band based on his musical tastes, which landed somewhere harder than mainstream metal but not quite in the "brutal metal" genre, he says.

You can hear how their sound has weathered the past five years, tightening up and gaining a depth that comes with serious road time, he says.

In 2011 Osmium were named Band of the Year at the Southland Entertainers Awards.

Leslie estimates that they do about 25 to 30 shows a year now, and despite the growing recognition of Osmium, both in New Zealand and overseas, they try to keep plans for the future open.

"We take everything as it comes", he says, but mentions another album and more touring this year.

"We see it as a holiday . . ."

Osmium plays at Tillerman's in Invercargill on January 25.

The Southland Times