ALBUM REVIEW: Odyrmos – Odyrmos

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The link between black metal, dark ambient and dungeon synth is nothing new, and ODYRMOS are far from the first band to blend these three elements together on an album. But with their particular take on this tried and tested musical union, the band have crafted a more distinct style for themselves than many other Greek acts, oftentimes with impressive results. They may have only released their debut EP, Eternal Sleep, just over two years ago, but they’ve managed to gain some notoriety from what little music they have produced. The band’s second album, Odyrmos, is a record that, although still a little rough around the edges, sees a continuation of the style laid out on their first few releases.

The albums starts off strongly with The Birth Of A Melancholic Ode – a suitably grand yet foreboding piece of music with great, soaring keyboards, slick, melodic guitars and a bombastic rhythmic undercurrent that makes for a slow-burning yet catchy take on atmospheric black metal that blends softer and heavier moments together with ease. As The Light Fades, with its forceful, military beat and cutting guitars and keyboards, makes for another dark and dramatic offering, with the grating, wraith-like howl of the vocals carving through the more polished approach of the music and adding a caustic edge to proceedings. It’s a solid piece of black metal, made all the more impressive by the ethereal post-rock passage that closes the track.

Dawn Of A New Journey takes the more minimalistic final flourishes and amplifies them significantly. There’s still a lot of extremity thrown in though, with the acidic vocals, monotonous, tremolo’d leads and the thunderous drumming all lending a denser aspect to much of this track without stripping away any of the more beguiling elements that underpin the majority of this music. Beneath A Mourning Sky, with its huge guitar sound and arid vocal deliveries, again does a great job of mixing black metal components into a more spartan post-rock and dark ambient heavy sound. Everything sounds gargantuan and imposing, whilst at the same time allowing the hypnotic keyboards to inject plenty of flavour into proceedings.

The Night After The Ritual has a more driven and aggressive sound, with faster, sharper guitars, bellicose vocals and intricate drums all giving this a harsher feel while the keyboards shroud the music in a veil of murky ambience that helps turn this from a furious, high tempo assault to a brilliant, cinematic experience overall. An Ominous Journey possesses a more sombre and doom-laden feel, with cavernous drums, haunting, harmonised guitar work and coarse, visceral vocals making this sound far closer to an epic doom metal affair, as opposed to the tight black metal that has dominated much of this album. It’s an incredibly powerful song that’s hard not to get drawn in by. Silver Stars essentially strips away most of the metal side of the band’s sound in favour of a heady brand of dungeon synth that sounds fantastic, with some crisp melodicism and sparse percussion providing the only link with the black metal that has defined this album’s style for much of the preceding six offerings.

What Could Have Been Wondrous sees the music lurch back abruptly towards a more focused and lean take on atmospheric black metal, with ominous riffs, precise, punishing drums and especially feral, snarling vocals marking perhaps the best vocal performance on the whole record, with the prominence of the vocal lines in the mix aiding this aspect of this song’s sound no end. Nostalgia does an excellent job of bringing the album full circle, starting out in a similar vein to the track that opened this record; domineering, organ-like keys, coupled with minimalist guitar hooks and monolithic drums add some heft to this closing effort’s musical backbone, making for an effective conclusion to the album, with just the right amount of pomp from the keyboards to keep this engrossing throughout.

When looking at the music featured on Odyrmos, two things become quite apparent. Firstly, the dungeon synth and dark ambient components that are showcased on this record are fantastic, and like a lot of the best music within these two styles, and in particular dungeon synth, they add a lot of musical depth and a palpable atmosphere into the mix, which aids this album significantly. The metal parts of the record, sadly, are a little lacking; the vocals, although impressive, are often not high enough in the mix, and the guitars cut jarringly through the mix rather than intermingling with the other elements on the record, and unfortunately often possess a very similar, mournful, tremolo-picked approach to them, which, if utilised here and there, would work well, but does start to feel a bit stale after several songs. Nonetheless, with slightly more adventurous guitar work and a better mix, this band’s future music could leave a much greater impact on the listener.

Rating: 7/10

Odyrmos - Odyrmos

Odyrmos is out now via Belfry Records.

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