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Odyssey / Blog

Odyssey Article / "Schematics" EP Review

Like an atmospherical explosion, the title track, “Schematics” enters your brain waves with nonstop, technical chaos; this could only be the work of one band, Odyssey, a local instrumental progressive metal band. They’re composed of brothers, Jordan and Lukas Hilker, who play bass and drums, each for thirteen years. The other piece to the puzzle known as Odyssey is their guitarist, Jerrick Crites, who has been shredding the guitar for over 7 years. Odyssey in itself has been a band for four years, they have played countless local shows, and have even shared the stage with national acts such as Dark Tranquility. The fellows met a friend’s birthday party, there were instruments to play, so they jammed together and everything clicked from there on. “Schematics” is the band’s second release, and was produced as an EP. The album explores vast atmospheres, difficult to capture for most metal acts. Off-beats, arpeggio filled riff-age, and smooth running bass lines make this album the phenomenal piece of work that it is. ‘Fractured Dimensions’ is the second track off of the band’s sophomore release. This song begins with subtle bass harmony and enters a gritty flow of bass, drums, and guitar. Thich, creamy bass chords, placed in elegant fashion stomp with might over the guitarist’s finger work right when the real “oomph” needs to be added. Guitar player, Jerrick Crites, portrays ritualistic practice within his playing; picking in ways thought unimaginable, soaring high over Jordan Hilker’s smooth bass melodies with face-melting solos, sending consciousness into a new vibrant dimension. Sensations of classic jazz infused-metal drumming spark something new to the minds of listeners. Lukas Hilker has proven to be one of the very best drummers in Spokane, especially with the recorded content he delivered onto “Schematics.” A listener will find himself nearly overwhelmed with the strenuous timing carried by Hilker behind the drum kit throughout this album, carrying heavy parts with gut-busting double bass and making heads bob in new time signatures with his funky polyrhythms. Songs like ‘Requiem’ which brings a listener to a “cruising” state, almost a relaxing feel, and songs like ‘Peripheral Aspects’, which nearly collapses the listener with every bass drop, complete the album, making it a pivotal addition to Spokane’s realm of musical success. The chemistry demonstrated by these artists, is something you’re lucky to hear often. These guys made a perfect recipe of technicality, listenability, groove, and true grit, and came out with an album with professional sound quality, and even more professional musicianship than 90% of what’s on the mainstream radio. With over thirty years of combined musical knowledge, Odyssey has proven that they are amongst the supreme in Progressive Metal. With the everlasting work they put in, and the amount of pure dedication compiled within the minds of the three known as Odyssey, you really wouldn’t be surprised seeing them touring nationally, and gaining huge success in the heavy metal world.

-Benjamin Hall Drummer for Shrieks of the Impaled

3rd Review of "Schematics" EP

“Instrumental metal band” almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, or perhaps a description of an epic symphonic band, but neither is the case for Spokane’s Odyssey. Bucking any notion of how a death metal-influenced band has to sound, Odyssey is a three piece by choice, leaving out the vocals to let the instruments steal the show. Besides being a completely worthwhile journey into the mechanics and technicality of metal, the “Schematics” EP also gives people who don’t enjoy extreme vocals a chance to delve into heavier music.

Technical death metal is the order of the day with the opening title track, and since it’s all instrumental there is a big bass presence. The bass is almost always heard throughout the whole EP, which is a very welcome change from the majority of extreme metal bands. Like the rest of the songs, “Schematics” goes through several different changes in sound to showcase the range of possibilities inherent to guitar based heavy metal. The track throws in an interesting fade out and fade back in prior to the actual end of the song, with a surprise finale before moving into the 11 minute “Fractured Dimensions.”

The second track takes up the bulk of the disc, and starts off with a melodic and atmospheric introduction before diving into somewhat of a mathcore sound. Throughout the cycles of highly technical metalcore, the bass takes over the lead and the guitar lapses into a supporting role. Around the halfway mark, the song strikes off into epic territory with long, sweeping guitar sounds. Unfortunately the song’s length is its Achilles heel, as it does overstay its welcome a bit, even with all the transitions.

After the massive duration of “Fractured Dimensions” the EP offers some respite in the form of “Requiem,” a three minute interlude of melodic and showy guitar work. The disc ends on “Peripheral Aspects,” which starts out more in the death metal vein. The track has a series of repeating loud and crunchy segments that bring to mind The Alien Blakk.

Even lacking a vocalist (although the band itself probably wouldn’t use the word “lacking”), Odyssey still maintains a constant stream of full force metal and has a wide range of transitions without relying on a vocal dynamic. Fans of just about any style of metal can probably dig this, and fans of technical metal in particular will enjoy the level of proficiency displayed by the band.

Highs: Highly proficient technical metal with a wide range of changing sounds.

Lows: The 11 minute "Fractured Dimensions" doesn't hold up well for its entire duration.

Bottom line: Technical all-instrumental metal that shows you don't need a vocalist to be extreme.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls -xFiruath @ metalunderground.com

Write Up on MetalSucks.net

Odyssey: Another band from the growing list that subscribes to the notion that the bass is an instrument that should be prominently featured in the mix, which I can wholeheartedly get behind. Proggy and technical — but not too much of either — instrumetal that doesn’t fall into the trappings of any currently hot sub-genres (read: no metalcore, deathcore, djent, thrash or even plain old death metal).

-Vince Neilstein @ MetalSucks.net

Full article: http://www.metalsucks.net/2010/10/21/unsigned-and-unholy-the-anti-djent-instrumental-edition/

1st Review of "Schematics" EP

From NoCleanSinging.com:

A few years ago my day job took me to Spokane pretty regularly. It’s in far eastern Washington, near the Idaho border. Culturally and politically, it’s a world apart from Seattle. The town itself is not much to look at, but you drive 20 minutes in just about any direction, and you’re surrounded by physical beauty. I also liked every person I met there — every one.

There’s metal in and around Spokane. Every now and then a group of us will make the drive east to catch a tour that inexplicably hits Spokane but bypasses Seattle, and there’s usually a good turnout of headbangers. But for new bands, it’s probably not an ideal place to launch a career. Not that we really know what we’re talking about — it’s just a guess.

So our dog-like ears perked up when we saw a Facebook post from the always-interesting Jesse Zuretti (The Binary Code) recommending that his friends check out a 3-piece Spokane band called Odyssey. Not something we could resist, (a) because of the source of the recommendation, and (b) because of the band’s location.

Odyssey has just released a new 4-song EP called Schematics, which follows on the heels of their September ‘09 hour-long debut album, Objects in Space. It’s the EP that we’ve now heard, and it’s very strong. No clean singing on that EP, or any other kind of singing. It’s an instrumental brain scrambler that’s completely engrossing. We’ll try to explain why . . . after the jump.

With only four songs to consider, it might not be tedious to write about each one — at least so we hope.

“Schematics” is one hell of an introduction to the band’s music — pulsing, darting guitar leads, and twittering solos that bounce back and forth between the left and right channels, with prominent bass riffing and a bit of a breakdown near the end. The first impression is that these dudes are technically very skilled, and very serious about construction of their songs.

“Fractured Dimensions” turns out to be 11 1/2 minutes long, but it’s a fascinating journey — one that starts with a slow, doomed, methodical introduction and then moves into Meshuggah-esque bass-pounding and flickering guitar rhythms. Plenty of stuttering rhythms and schizoid time signatures follow, and almost halfway through, the pace slows dramatically and a prog-metal meditation begins, which includes a very cool, fluid guitar solo. But the song ramps up again, with nimble bass arpeggios and shimmering guitars.

“Requiem” is the shortest track on the EP, with the band’s jazz influences right on the surface. It includes a silky guitar solo laid over an extremely infectious rhythm.

The closer is “Peripheral Aspects” — and this one is heavy, with distorted, down-tuned riffing, rolling drums, and hammering bass. The guitars peal like interdimensional bells and swirl like white water in a Snake River rapids. The song progresses through increasingly hypnotic bursts of beat and song, pulsing and crashing.

For every two-dozen new bands that string together three chords and jump on the latest bandwagon, whether it be deathcore or something else, maybe you’ll find one that tries seriously to construct intricate music that engages the emotions and the mind at more than a superficial level. And the ratio of bands that can attempt that and pull it off successfully is even smaller. Odyssey is one of those bands.

So, we’re left musing about this question as we finish this post: Just how good do you have to be to play instrumental metal in a town like Spokane and get noticed? Do you have to aspire to the technical chops and songwriting inventiveness of dudes like Tosin Abasi and Navene Koperweis, or Jess Zuretti and Umar Fahim, or Chris Letchford and his comrades in Scale the Summit? Would we even know those names if they had started out in Spokane instead of the larger metroplexes that spawned them?

We will find out, as we watch what happens to Lukas and Jordan Hilker and Jerrick Crites — the promising talent in Odyssey.

2nd Review for "Schematics" EP

From The Inlander:

Schematics, Odyssey

Jerrick Crites is probably one hell of a Guitar Hero player. As the guitarist for the longstanding local instrumental metal band Odyssey, Crites puts most other local guitarists to shame in terms of sheer speed and precision. And his bandmates — bassist Jordan Hilker and drummer Lukas Hilker — are no slouches either. Across the four tracks of its latest EP, Schematics, the band paces itself. It marinates in Crites’ riffs, letting him solo as long as needed, never too long. And that is, perhaps, the best thing about this band. It’s full of incredible musicians, but they work here on building solid songs instead of just bloviating their talents senselessly. The 11-minute opus “Fractured Dimensions” gets close, though. The track builds and builds before, six minutes in, the band tears the roof off, letting all three members loose. And though this isn’t music for the masses, to the discerning metalhead who enjoys dissecting every last bit of a song — this is your new favorite band. (Leah Sottile)