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Review: Odium – ‘Terraform’

The haunting, guitar-led opener ‘Odyssey ‘, gives nothing away, regarding what’s in store on ‘Terraform’, the third full-length from Canadian melodic Death Metal five piece, Odium. I formed an initial expectation when I heard the opening few bars of first track, ‘Feral Inversion‘, but was rapidly surprised and proven wrong, soon realising ‘Terraform’ was going to be an entirely different beast altogether, a very modern, crushing offering.

I did go and check out what tracks I could find of the previous two albums, to get the bigger picture, and as good as they were, with ‘Terraform’, a stronger definition to Odium’s sound is very apparent. This time around, their own particular slant on modern melodic Death Metal has fully emerged. There has been a greater emphasis on, well… everything!

First thing that struck me about their sound was the great balance between melodic, slightly technical guitars, harsh vocals, and pummelling drum work, resulting in something that is intense, but still very easy to listen to, as well as atmospheric and intricate. Also, although they deliver a very modern style of Death Metal, there are still classic elements, with chunks of good lead work dropped into most tracks, with a subtle and well-placed use of keyboard, giving a slightly orchestrated effect. The overall feel of this release is very much that of a sci-fi one, and given the album title, exactly as intended.

Each of the eleven tracks, of this forty-nine minute offering, has something to grab your attention, from the mood-setting opener, ‘Odyssey ‘, which paints a futuristic and haunting image, ‘Feral Inversion‘ which gives you the first taste of the stunning lead work permeating every track, adding melody without losing any of the power.

On ‘Centipedes’, punchy riffs meet technical elements, all garnished with rasping vocals and superb second half lead work. I am not the biggest fan of cleans, but on ‘Return To Form’ and for that matter, everywhere else they appear, they are excellent… powerfully delivered, and add great contrast and balance to the harsh vocals, in much the same way as the melodic elements off-set perfectly against the pummelling, crushing parts of the tracks.

After a subtle orchestrated intro, ‘Delusion’ expands on heavy chugging riffs that become a force to be reckoned with when joined by the harsh vocals. They are lightened by clean melodic elements and some great midpoint lead work. ‘Dead‘ expands out into an intense and crushing technical offering, that has suspense-filled pauses, and superb, haunting and tortuous cleans midway, that really took me by surprise, adding a huge amount of atmosphere.

The haunting, poignant intro on ‘Failure II’ rapidly builds with the arrival of a great mix of harsh vocals; some screams, some growls, alongside powerful, haunting cleans and intense riffing, all overlaid in the latter part, with an abundance of lead work. ‘Obsolete’ too has some sublime spiralling riffs towards its close.

The one instrumental of the album, ‘The Cell‘, has the bonus of a guest solo from Greg Dawson, who is responsible also for the production of this, and the previous two albums. It’s a great track all round, opening straight into stunning lead work that just keeps going and going, it’s crushing and catchy at the same time. A hugely engaging listen.

‘Redemption ‘ has a slight off-kilter feel, that works well. The final (and longest) track of the album, ‘Displacement Of Hope’, is a mix of sonic keyboard work and crushing riffs, softened by the abundant lead work and strong, haunting cleans. A superb track and a great album ender.

‘Terraform’ is modern Death Metal at its best, complex, engaging and full of surprises!

Review: Jools Green

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