posted on 2/2011 By:
Unless you are from the area, chances are Spokane, Washington is probably not on your metal radar, but that has not stopped three-piece instrumental outfit Odyssey from putting together Schematics, their second release, which is, by the way, available for free download at their bandcamp site (odysseyspokane.bandcamp.com). And is it worth the download? I say yes.
Reviewing a band such as Odyssey is challenging for a few reasons. It would not be fair to judge them in the same genre as bands that write songs around vocal patterns, with variations on the chorus-verse-chorus structure, but at the same time Odyssey’s sound as I hear it is an amalgam of riffs drawn from a multitude of progressive bands, from Rush and Dream Theater to Cynic, Meshuggah, and, in the instrumental category, Blotted Science, who are probably the most accurate comparison I can make sound-wise. I would be very surprised if the three guys behind Odyssey have not spent some time with The Machinations of Dementia, and if they have not, then they really must. Odyssey does not display the same caliber chops as Blotted Science – I can’t think of more than one or two bands that do – but the gentlemen from Washington are certainly no slouches.
Opening track "Schematics" quickly establishes the guitars as the leading element driving the songs, with riffs that introduce themes and then proceed to dance around them with a good amount of technical prowess. Beneath the guitars, the bass flourishes appropriately and balances the heavier moments with rhythmic cadences echoed by the drummer, though as flashy bassists are wont to do in progressive death metal, sliding and slapping moments are periodically encountered and do not add much to the music. Of the three performances, the drums are the least impressive of the triumvirate, but this is due more to the drums’ flat production and less to the performance itself, which adequately roots the often busy riffing. Second track ‘Fractured Dimensions’ clocks in at over eleven minutes making it by far the longest track, but the band manages to keep it together by complimenting the barrage of riffs with softer, ambient interludes enriched by subtle layers of synthesized harmonies. Third track ‘Requiem’ is a short, odd track that, guitar solos aside, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to an 80s family sitcom. Final track ‘Peripheral Aspects’ returns to the heavy jamming for six minutes thereby rounding out a collection of songs that will appeal most to guitar enthusiasts and to that curious group of listeners, of which I am part, seeking new instrumental metal.
Schematics makes for an enjoyable twenty-six minutes, but after four or five listens, I do not see myself regularly revisiting the album. Ultimately,Odyssey at this point seems to be lacking the sort of energy and unpredictability that makes bands such as Blotted Science or Dysrhythmia so exciting, and as I mentioned above, a stronger production would have contributed to the overall success of the endeavor. With that being said, Odyssey has tackled the uniquely challenging genre (which I just made up) of ‘intellectual-instrumental’ metal and has done so with a good deal of talent and gusto. If you like riffs, give it a listen.
Register to post comments.