The creative evolution of the multifaceted metallic force known as ONI never ends. Rather, ONI is always evolving, braving treacherous waters, searching for a distinctive light in the darkness. The Silver Line is the third full-length album issued under the ONI banner, and it is at once the most dynamic yet cohesive and focused work of powerhouse frontman Jake Oni’s burgeoning career. Produced, mixed, and mastered by the duo of Spiritbox bassist Josh Gilbert and Joe McQueen (As I Lay Dying, Light The Torch, Bad Wolves), The Silver Line is as ambitious as it is catchy and incisive. A quick perusal of the guests featured on ONI’s third album reveals the wide range of the band’s appeal. “Silence In a Room of Lies” pairs ONI with YouTuber and musician Jared Dines. “Underneath My Skin” features Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn. “Aura” boasts Gilbert and ex-Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones. Pop-punk-resurgence star Sueco lends his voice to “Spark.”
Like Nine Inch Nails, LCD Soundsystem, or Leviathan, ONI is both a band and one man’s vision. Jake first conceived of ONI as “the band I never got to see” in 2014, recruiting different players with technical skills to make music that shook the foundations of the scene. Early comparisons to genre heavyweights like Meshuggah, Between The Buried And Me, and Protest The Hero came swiftly.
ONI released Ironshore on Metal Blade Records in 2016, heralded by No Clean Singing as “maybe the most impressive debut I’ve heard this year.” As ONI traveled the globe, the band shared stages with Gojira, Code Orange, Children Of Bodom, and Death Angel, making stops at festivals in North America and Europe headlined by the likes of Rob Zombie, KISS, Scorpions, and Korn.
Metal Injection described them as “key figures in paving the way for a new wave of progressive metalcore.” With fearless ambition, Jake sharpened his creative chops in a shockingly short amount of time. (He co-wrote “Cross Off” with the late Chester Bennington for Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton’s debut solo album.) ONI’s surprise release EP, Alone, racked up nearly 2 million streams on Spotify.
But coming out of a spiral of depression, addiction, and turmoil positioned him to reevaluate everything about his life, and that included ONI. Jake hit “reset,” and a full-blown hard rock masterpiece emerged in 2022. Jake, producer Josh Wilbur (Megadeth, Trivium, Gojira), and Morton created Loathing Light in the studio together. Songs like “Against My Sins” and “Heart of Stone” rang true to devotees of Five Finger Death Punch, Of Mice & Men, and Linkin Park. Rippers like “Gasoline” and “Sequence Static” brought Slipknot intensity levels. The album featured guest appearances from City Morgue, punk icon Iggy Pop, and Morton’s bandmate, D. Randall Blythe. “For all its diversity, Loathing Light still feels cohesive,” wrote UK tastemaker Kerrang! in an enthusiastic review. “It’s essentially the work of one man, and a big battering ram of a comeback.”
As a new live lineup coalesced around Jake, ONI spent roughly a year supporting the sophomore album: touring with Starset and Red; dropping the monstrous standalone single “Iron Heart”; a North American trek co-headlined by Cradle Of Filth and DevilDriver; and an early 2023 jaunt across Jake’s native Canada with Big 4 metal legends Megadeth and UK metalcore vets Bullet For My Valentine. The Silver Line ups the ante once more, adding another full-length chapter to ONI’s ever-expanding songbook.
ONI is a means to exorcise personal demons for anyone who listens and connects to the sound, the spirit, and the stand taken by the songs. The Silver Line is as much for them as it is for Jake.“Music is such a gift,” Jake says thoughtfully. “If you can make music, and people respond to it I’ve learned not to take that for granted. Count your blessings because the opportunity to make music is such a great one. We should always be grateful. Because it’s the coolest job anyone could do.”
In modern times, the demonic ONI figure of Japanese Folklore transformed into a personification of protection, often adorning rooftops or leading festive parades to ward off evil. In this same spirit, the crushing but melodic aggressive music of ONI, the band, is an empowering weapon. ONI casts out the cruel demons of self-hatred, addiction, and whatever destructive obstacles one might face.
_“Spark is an awesome song and Sueco is a super chill_
cool dude to work with. Overall, we made a banger of
a song. A real Josh Gilbert masterpiece.
“Working with ONI was a cool experience, the music video
was really nuts. Probably one of the craziest videos I’ve
been a part of. Excited for it to finally be out!”