Review Summary: Perfect intrumental jazz/death progressive metal.
If you’ve stumbled across this review and saw the tag ‘instrumental’ and were immediately deterred, thinking this must be boring, then you are greatly mistaken. Although I can understand the immediate feelings of thinking an instrumental album is just lacking the depth an album with lyrics may have I can assure you that Odyssey breaks that chain more efficiently than any other instrumental death/jazz band I’ve ever heard. Hailing from Washington, this three piece phenomenon not only has the ability to attract almost any fan from any sub genre of metal, they also do it with unmistakably flying colors. Since their inception in 2007 they seem to have perfectly honed down their skills, creating a sound and style of music that is unlike no other. Rarely do you ever hear metal as exciting as you’re going to hear here. So how do they do it? Well, each member seems to have an innate desire and ability to push music as far as they can whilst making sure each moment is as captivating and well-flowing as possible. Yes, Odyssey are masters of creating perfect transitions, which for the typical music enthusiast, is one of the main foundations that creates successful albums.
In the realm of transitions, not only in track transitions but also mainly in song passage transitions, An Abstract Existence
glides like an Olympic ice skater reaching for that perfect 10 score. Its opener, “Cellular Deconstruction”, begins with an immediate odd-timed jazz-metal riff that instantly gets you grooving on your feet. After going through a few evolutionary changes of progression that riff sequence drops to a smooth airy clean section as if were Cynic’s Focus
blending into Traced in Air
. Even, from time to time, a keyboard synth will jump in, adding just the right amount of light to a needed-developed section before resorting back to Odyssey’s formula of seamlessly blending plethora’s of riffs into a single meal; almost like an ice skater does during leaps and bounds, but yet, gracefully lands each time as if they were majestic swans. With these magnificent feats of showmanship, Odyssey never resorts to overly-flashy taggings just to past time or fit in with the in ‘crowd’. It seems each musical section is filled with purpose and emotion; even when solos rip your head off on tracks like on the opener and the title track.
Fans of Death, Cynic, Atheist, and even Opeth will most likely feel right at home here. Even though progressive metal and jazz metal may be tagged to Odyssey’s style, their riffs are most akin to death metal’s style; yet they blend each of the aforementioned styles like a young child’s impartiality to new unexplored territories. Some of the greatest moments on An Abstract Existence
are found on the two closing tracks “Inputting a Binary Sequence” and the 19 minute “Quantum Symbiotic Inception”.”Inputting…” begins with airy Cynic-like clean riffs momentarily before jumping into Death/Atheist-like passages with tasty audible-backing bass riffs. The perfect balance of old and new production styles allows for each instrument to sound through with perfection while not leaving you feeling like what you’re hearing was overproduced to the point of trebly confusion; which is so prevalent in modern metal releases. The 19 minute closer, “Quantum Symbiotic Inception”, is the perfect track allowing each member to bring all their talents and skills together. The extravagant drumming metal/jazz style of Lukas Hilker always perfectly complements each segment. At times Lukas may be working the snare with blast beats or off-beat ghost notes akin to jazz techniques. The guitar work of Jerrick Crites is quite remarkable, being that he’s able to blend so many musical styles into one, making each track feel as if they were a culmination of one single style. I’m really beside myself because although this closing track is 19 minutes long it’s probably the most-enjoyable track on this record, feeling as if it were only a 5 minute song because of the ingenuity behind each moment. After reaching a climax of perfection the album closes out on a ‘finish strong’ sort of note which only leaves its listeners wondering what these guys can’t accomplish. If you even remotely like metal, death metal, jazz, progressive music, or the above mentioned bands, you absolutely need to hear/get this.