Odium (NOR)
The Sad Realm of the Stars


4.0
excellent

Review

by poolshark USER (2 Reviews)
January 24th, 2011 | 36 replies | 4,595 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two sides of the same coin. At the same time. Sort of.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

As they hail from southern Norway, it would be easy to assume that Odium are simply like any other run of the mill black metal band. This is partly true. Partly. For when considering black metal, two disciplines tend to show up. On one hand, there is the raw, lo-fi buzzsaw guitar sound of the minimalist progenitors of black metal, and on the other we have the grandeur of symphonic and melodic black metal; focussing on synths and melody more than brutality. An accurate way to describe these two styles would be two sides of the same coin. But where does Odium fall in this rather simple analogy?

The answer is neither, really. Whereas Odium does lean closer to symphonic rather than "trve" black metal, it is unfair to judge them solely as a band in the similar vein as a band like Dimmu Borgir. The synths and melodies and "epic" feel are all present in "The Sad Realm of the Stars", they are all underneath a very raw style of guitar, reminiscent of Carpathian Forest or early Emperor. The effect that this has would usually be a mishmash of both styles, with conflicting ideas in the music vieing for dominance in the mayhem of each song, Unusually, Odium actually manages to pull this off well.

True enough, there are purely melodic parts to the album, such as the piano in the middle of The Brightness of the Weeping Kingdom and the introduction to Riding the Starwinds, it all seems to fall into place and doesn't ever feel overdone and gimmicky. This being said, any die hard "trve" black metal fan would probably throw their copy of this album in the church they are burning, as even the more abrasive riffs hidden throughout the album aren't enough to hide the fact that this isn't just the same old tired kvlt black metal formula (which those kinds of people can't seem to get enough of).

The production is done superbly, and considering that the album was recorded in 1998, it seems far rawer than most of the contemporary black metal around at that time, which, although the opposite in most forms of music, works for black metal. Even the vocals are mixed clearly, which is something that some of the rawer BM bands have a major problem with (listen to early Mayhem and you'll see what I mean). The vocals themselves are the standard black metal affair, rarely going lower than an ear splitting screech which compliments the music quite nicely.

Instrumentation is top-notch, which (let's face it) is not really surprising for a genre of music that is generally played in the excesses of 210bpm. Anders Eek, the drummer also found in Myrkskog, manages to hold the chaos together really well, with both guitarists tremolo picking their way from the start of one song to the end, without tiring or sounding half-assed. The bass is pretty much inaudible, but this is 90's black metal so get over it.

As far as criticisms go, the only major one is that all of the songs sound extremely similar. I mean, its as if Odium just decided to record the whole thing in one take, with both guitarists leaving their amps on the same setting, and the hilariously named "Bastadon" not twisting any dial on his synth for the duration of the album. The fact that there aren't any guitar solos on this album is also somewhat of a criticism, as over-indulgence of the solo can make for a boring listen, but one or two would have been nice.

All in all, with its incredibly vivid spacey atmosphere and solid (though not diverse) songwriting, this is a fantastic and criminally underappreciated and unknown piece of black metal, that would make a great addition to any black metal fan's catalogue.


user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
poolshark
January 24th 2011



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's my first, so any comments, criticisms and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Wizard
January 24th 2011



19329 Comments


Really damn good read, so obviously excellent first review. Need to hear this still, been putting it off for a while now.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

Ponton
Emeritus
January 24th 2011



5790 Comments


excellent review, man. impressive

album is awesome

Hawks
January 25th 2011



35562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know how I missed this review. I was thinking of reviewing this, but now I don't have to haha. Definitely a nice review for a first and awesome album.

Digging: Sun Worship - Elder Giants

ShoeSoup
January 28th 2011



782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wow. i was just about to review this too. all this time i put it off and then when i actually go to do it, you beat me to it. good shit. winterpath is tasty

ShoeSoup
January 28th 2011



782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wow. i was just about to review this too. all this time i put it off and then when i actually go to do it, you beat me to it. good shit. winterpath is tasty

Dodecahedron
February 4th 2013



970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is getting reissued this year!

Vakarian12
February 24th 2013



3716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeeeeesssss!

12 ratings - what the fuck sputnik?

Digging: Sepultura - Arise

oltnabrick
April 11th 2013



30607 Comments


album is massive

Digging: Suicideyear - Remembrance

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2013



18291 Comments


ye rulz

Digging: Octex - Idei Lahesna

Vakarian12
April 13th 2013



3716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such an overlooked album

oltnabrick
April 15th 2013



30607 Comments


title track is too good


dam

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



18291 Comments


yeah its sweet

Hawks
April 15th 2013



35562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awww yeah.

CaptainDooRight
April 15th 2013



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gotta shek hard

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

Hawks
April 16th 2013



35562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jamming this again now. m/

oltnabrick
April 16th 2013



30607 Comments


One of my fav symphonic black metal albums

CaptainDooRight
April 18th 2013



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude listening now harwks this better be god

CaptainDooRight
April 18th 2013



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds pretty cool dude

Hawks
April 19th 2013



35562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would never let you down Captain.



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