Review Summary: Odium release the year's most surprising listen to date, a modern take on the melodic-death metal genre but refined and passionate in nature...
Ever so often, you come across a band or album that you hadn't heard before, that brings a smile from ear to ear. The years of musical intake through countless bands can oftentimes leave you in despair, shaking your head at how a group of individuals could create something that entirely misses the point when passed onto the general public. Whether it be the chase of fame and fortune, or the creation of work that gives the impression of juxtaposition from its original intent, Odium have thankfully created an album that is cohesive, purposeful and passionate.
Odium are a 5 piece act hailing from Ontario, Canada, with the current line-up in tact since 2006. Their 2009 release 'At The Bottom' was an encouraging piece of work, a 10 track exercise in modern melo-death. The album showed promise, however seemed mired in a like-for-like track format, where each song blended into the next. Whether the band made a conscious effort to change this remains unseen, however the emphasis on variety and cohesiveness has certainly taken the forefront upon first and following listens of 'Burning The Bridges To Nowhere'.
'Burning The Bridges To Nowhere' sounds purposeful and passionate from its inception. The opening minutes of the title track giving the listener a perfect sample of the band's influences. A groove laden riff of gnashing guitars accompanied by pummelling double-bass drumming gives way to melodic guitar passages and soaring vocals, a pattern that continues throughout the 5 minute opener.
Vocalist Tom Emmans is outstanding and inspiring throughout the albums 10 tracks, switching effortlessly from low to high growls to soaring crooning (a la Chino Moreno). Sonically, Emmans has his own tone and sound which is an incredibly difficult thing to do in the metal world as presently composed, where it seems cookie cutter front men are a dime a dozen. He sounds driven, convincing and most importantly passionate.
Sonically, the band don't implore excessive guitar noodling or an orgy of polyrhythm’s and favour the song and it's structure over showing off which is an impressive feat for a genre currently consumed with "can you top this". This is not to be mistaken for the fact that the 6 strings are played without comprehension. Guitarists Bo Louther and Andrew Fullerton cover a labyrinth of tremolo riffs, groovy palm mute passages, soaring leads and peaceful cleans throughout, ably backed by the rhythm section comprising of drummer Joe Mullen and bassist Dale Burrows.
Album highlights include 'Burning The Bridges To Nowhere', 'Blue Channel', 'Claw My Eyes Out' and the album closer 'The Descent', an amazing piece of music drenched in strings, delay riddled licks and emotionally charged vocals from Emmans, desperately singing "Now I have nothing to follow, so I, will find my way, on my own". Think Fear Factory's 'Timelessness' but with instruments. It really is a moving piece, and a perfect way to end the album.
Detractors will state that the album possesses the same traits as its predecessor 'At The Bottom’; however there is so much more on offer here. The ups and downs stay with the listener after the first play through, that the album begs for more attention to understand the nuances intended by the band in each song. An album that can be played front to back without any minor concerns is an accomplishment in itself.
Odium have released the year's most surprising listen to date, a modern take on the melodic-death metal genre but refined, emotional and passionate in nature.