A First Hand Take Told Through Their Lyrics
By Savannah Cotton
Bad Omens have reemerged rolling out a carpet of tour dates to support their latest album, Finding God Before God Finds Me. While lyrical content may lean into biblical imagery and ideologies, which is nothing new in the metalcore world, when softer edges in their musicality mesh and balance with heavier, angrier moments it’s like the listener is straddling the fence between heaven and hell steering it far from the stereotypical. I was lucky enough to land some VIP tickets to one of their shows on the “Dethrone The Killed & Born Again” tour earlier this month to see for myself if the dualities of the album would shine through in their live performance.
“If he’s home, I’ve got a message from below/getting out is not enough if nobody else can come/If He’s home, I’ve got a message for the man above…take me to the pearly gates/So I can look you in the eye when I spit in your face.”
It was a Sunday night in West Columbia, SC and New Brookland Tavern was filled to the gills. It was clear Bad Omens had sold out, if my sweaty forehead and proximity to other fans wasn’t clue enough. The opening bands: Oh, Sleeper, Thousand Below, and Bloodline had their own respective fans but it was pretty clear the crowd was anxiously awaiting the night’s headliner.
The stage and venue was darker than usual, setting the mood and locking in everyone’s anticipation. As Bad Omens made their way to the stage, the crowd erupted with an electric love and joy that could only be expressed by the crowds’ severe decibel increase. No introduction necessary as the band dove straight into their first song, “Blood” and lead vocalist, Noah Sebastian, vocally tore into the crowd,
“There’s no rest for the wicked/there’s not a home underneath the mud/and we’re all dead/so what’s the difference/between a god and a loaded gun?”
Between songs Sebastian made clear his disdain for New Brookland Tavern’s posted rules for the all ages show rolling his eyes while saying, “No moshing, no stage diving”. This persuaded the crowd including myself to start a mosh pit as we screamed our lungs out.
Lights flashed overhead like a stoplight; red, yellow, and green. When the music began to mellow a blue haze blanketed us like a low floating cloud. On its own, the color changes and stage set up were impressive but their cohesive talent as a band had me enthralled reciting every word.
Their breakthrough 2016 hit “Glass Houses” was performed with the finesse you would expect for a song that catapulted their careers. The wall of sound led to the songs eventual breakdown that clicked in perfectly with the creepy whispering that preceded the chorus,
“I see through you/I know what you are/I’ve seen the Devil more than I’ve seen God/And when he has you by your neck/I hope you choke on every fucking word you said/You’ve run out of luck…you stabbed me in the back but not deep enough.”
The last song of the night, my favorite song, almost had me in tears. “Burning Out” was a fitting close to such an emotional, furious, and at times chaotic performance. The lyrics reminded the audience and myself that we were not alone in whatever struggle we might be going through individually,
“I was lost, but now I’m found/Under the lights and in the sounds/So let us sing and sing it loud/That we’re not perfect/but we’re proud of who we are.”