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Odyssey / Blog

Voids LP Review by Solomon Steiner Part 3 of 3

Left Unspoken, in both tone and composition, reminds me a lot of the softer side of earlier Between The Buried And Me. It strikes an emotive chord being both contemplative and somewhat uplifting. The atmospheric tapping, while using rhythm to emphasize change is genius. The slower tracks on this album really show how well they can compose a very catchy, simple piece. While the sound is their own the feel of this track reminds me of the emotional power that bands like Sigur Ros, Alcest or Maybeshewill has on their listeners. Another track that is very easy to appreciate regardless of musical preferences.

Reaching the title track Voids made my ears perk up. Knowing that the track is roughly 6-minutes long forced my mind to focus on one thought. "What are they going to do to close this?" I feel the answer should have been fairly obvious to anyone (myself included, but I was still unsure) who was really paying attention. They, in what could be misconstrued as a anti-climactic, remain groove-oriented and do not resort to trying to jam too many ideas into a closing statement. I feel the closing track is an excellent example of what this album presents most forwardly: truly catchy, solid songwriting OVER just becoming a nonstop shredfest. The closing connects nicely to the opening tone while still progressing into several different sub-sections and eventually ends in an emotive shred into "the voids."

Long story short: Despite their earlier releases being progressively-minded I often felt much of their brilliance was lost by being overly technical at times. Though I myself enjoy extreme metal with unique presentation, one of my instrumental-prog criticisms has always been that many listeners may feel alienated listening to the style unless already accustomed to the sub-genres. Being that accessibility and merchantability are directly connected I feel it necessary to add that Odysseys' largest step forward this album is that, for the first time, they have transcended their approach to the point of near flawless execution. My overall reception of this chapter of Odyssey feels like they are opening doors into areas that they hadn't before ventured without abandoning their earlier, more aggressive sound. It is just now instead they are presenting it in a much more crowd-friendly, refined manner then they ever have before.

Great album overall. Definitely go buy and support it! Thanks for reading!

Voids LP Review by Solomon Steiner Part 2 of 3

But alas, just as soon as you are most vulnerable to their emotive aspects, they shift into a direction familiar again to the avid fans who have followed Odyssey for years. Picking up the pace, they immediately demand your attention with Before There Where Eyes To See. A track in which Jordan's keen ability to fill in brilliantly shines through really well. There is well-panned out room for accentuation. While this approach is not as hyper-complex as some earlier releases the most impressive aspect of these tracks is that they riff-tough, putt right along, still shift dynamics several times but don't lose direction or fall into studio masturbation.

Having watched several live performances I have watched Jordan, Jerrick and Lukas play though some honestly, hellish material. Watching them play through several older tracks live has impressed me as a fellow musician and also made me pity the crazy bastards for their more intense-to-perform tracks. Hearing several tracks on this album already live allowed me to respect how the natural feel remained once recorded. Any sections in songs with backing rhythm guitar is minimalistic enough to be achieved with a loop pedal and reproduced live perfectly. The rhythm guitar areas are used less frequently than areas Jordan is filling in behind a lead guitar section. I find this aspect of the composition impressive, since, all too often guitar player go to record and embellish in the studio environment. Odyssey did well averting that bad habit. This album, most explicitly examples Odyssey writing songs that are not overwhelmingly complex while still having several interesting and fun-to-listen to (and I am sure fun to play) songs.

The Plot Thickens is another track drawing from solid rock fundamentals yet also toying with the listeners expectation of what a standard rock track would present. There is are oddly-timed syncopated areas, gently-approached down-tempo aspects and still an excellent underlying "glue" that seems to exist between everything. Even the more dramatic shifts remain cohesive and feel very natural and never feel overly convoluted, which I feel Odyssey has been guilty of in the past. The slow descent into the end of the track further and further away from the rock nature it began with allows for the listener to again take a breath. Which is perfect coming into what I consider a standout track on the album for me personally.

Having watched Delineation played several times live I approached this track with immediate appreciation knowing how much I enjoyed it live. On the album it really shines. It is a well-rounded track full of interesting changes, brilliantly catchy, groovy bass, absolutely shredtastic guitar and a few of my more favorite drum sections of the album. Another side-effect to hearing this track live is realizing, upon hearing it recorded, that the quality of the mix really shines through (especially right around the 3:00 mark). You can hear every note, cymbal-strike and accentuation splendidly verses the earlier albums. The drum accents and performance for the last two minutes (and that ungodly guitar solo!) examples well how these gentlemen emphasize the little things these days while still being able to melt faces.

Voids LP Review by Solomon Steiner Part 1 of 3

From the first moment that the stereo-panning, sweeping guitar waves meet the fleet-fingered tapping and the pulsing rhythm of the drums there is not a second that it diminishes or reverts into repetition. Within the first seconds of Emerge. Evolve. Adapt. there is a very natural flow apparent. While the initial build up the whole first track screams progressive brilliance there is a very straightforward aspect to what they are doing. The first four minutes of the first track build, without stopping to take a piss, to the point of neck-breaking heaviness. By the time the track is winding down in the last minute you feel there is a satisfyingly familiar aspect to what they are presenting here. There is a familiarity yet they are not resorting to old tricks or using a tired template. Though they still aggressively approach several sections there is now just an refined feeling accompanying the progressions. It is not so much that they left a sound behind necessarily, but more so have refined their concepts to the utmost clarity.

Upon the competition of a track exampling a less direct presentation of what Odyssey start an album these days I questioned how the second track would pick up. Answer is: like it was a track off of Schematics. Basically, straight math-metal thrashing. Aggressively taking a hint from (or a shot at) their writing style of years past Negate The Infinite seems to join nicely the math-metal roots this band comes from with the much more mature style of fluid composition they now possess as more experienced writers. Though short, this track examples a passionate recall of earlier ideas without overdoing it.

The change from a thrashy, mathy track straight into a modern rock toned piece feels natural and again takes off into solid, rock-staple progressions led forwardly by a bass-heavy, low-end attack. While the change is definitely retracting back into a realm of a more simplistic, groove-oriented style it doesn't lack initiative. While Like Moths To Flame produces a simple initial structure it allows, for almost the first time on the album, a moment of reprieve. The song is the first example of a slower, heavier approach they use to allow the listener to catch up. The constant progressions and consistent changes can sometimes overwhelm your less progressively-minded music fans. While some people find that the technical prowess of bands like Dream Theater mesmerizing others find it boring. Tracks 3 and 4 on Voids seem to flow seamlessly from the more light-heartedly rock-driven repetitions into just a few moments of overly-technical riffing of true virtuoso musicians. These tracks example a fine line between the ability to write and the ability to riff. By the time Motives is winding to a fairly climactic finish they have already spun you into several different solo-sections, without excluding a bass-solo either. The incredibly heavy ending section specifically allows for almost my favorite change on the whole album.

While Motives ends with a hard-hitting, intensely-catchy metal demanding attention Echoes deliberately comes in with an almost atmospheric tapping riff, echoing into the listeners attention. With the lull of the layered, guitars the effect is almost hypnotizing and builds into a down-tempo, bluesy-section almost reminiscent of moments of Amogh Symphony or Opeth guitar leads. When they dive back into that tapping the rhythm continues to augment your concentration and it intensifies to the point of having an almost spiritually-uplifting quality. Truly beautiful writing for every note of this track.

Voids LP Review by Badger's Metal Breakdown Part 3 of 3

10.Voids

This has a rock solid groove right out of the gate, this is actually a fun song by the sounds of it so far. I am betting they like to end on this song because it sounds like as much fun as it is to listen and enjoy this song, it’s a fun song to play. Jerrick though, he likes those hand cramping riffs I can tell. The song picks up the pace right around the 1:20 mark and delivers some energy inducing drums to get you going into the next change. This is a killer track, I mean that groove alone is highly enjoyable but right around the halfway point they mix things up and then those toms rolling out and setting up that slower more dramatic section. They throw down some funk right around the 3:40 mark where they just start to set it up, but yea you get to that point and they just brought the funk. And to answer your question, no they did not end the album without Jerrick delivering a face melting shredfest of a guitar solo.

This album is awesome, the amount of sound they pack in with only three members is impressive. The styles that can be heard throughout this album range from jazz and funk, to thrash and progressive metal. I couldnt pick just one song to be a favorite, but I will tell you that “Echoes” has been played a few dozen times, it is now my alarm clock sound, and a ringtone, as it is such a killer track. The album really is a an example of variety, not every song sounds the same, yet every song has its own style. Call me crazy but if this was to be paired the way people pair wine or beer with food. This album could be paired with ” The Algorithm” I would love to see maybe a split, where you have The Algorithm doing their thing, and Odyssey doing theirs because they would compliment each other so well. This album can be played any where, from the office to driving. With instrumental metal bands coming out more and more, I will say that this album would rank high in a list of instrumental metal album lists for 2016, if compared to the releases from 2015, I would put this higher than quite a few albums released last year. My only hope is that they eventually release it on vinyl, for my collection. Hands down a solid 8/10 rating is what Voids deserves, and you should pre order today! \m/

Voids LP Review by Badger's Metal Breakdown Part 2 of 3

5.Echoes

The guitar riff with all of its echo and the bass doing what sounds like volume swells, playing like this for a bar or two and the drums come in with a rhythm to follow along, then progresses to what is like a 4:4 time signature. Evolving into something more but keeping that guitar pattern going. This song is a killer track, I love it, this will be making it to my playlists, as it has that badass beginning, but then when they bring it down a few notches. The guitar is playing with some soul, it reminds me of Clapton, and some Gilmour fused together. This song is one that leaves you reaching for the back button, you know if you haven’t hit that “repeat 1” button yet (which I have and l can’t stop listening to).

6.Before There Were Eyes To See

This song starts out with a thrash feel to it, and they get right down to the energy boosting rhythms with this song. I really like the old school vibe about it, the guitar solo starting around the 1: 30 mark is great. Jerrick plays a soulful solo and then ends with some shredding licks, only to take a quick breather and hit us with a dizzying riff, it’s a straight up hand cramping riff that lasts almost thirty seconds. They break the time down a bit and give it some accented points to only bring it down some more with the bass all alone setting up the next rhythm.

7.The Plot thickens

The song begins with a riff and a bit of mystery behind it, which really leads you to wonder which way they will be going. They don’t leave that amount of mystery in question long and dive right into a quick tempo pace with steady drums for the first section. The next change brings things down a slight amount with the drums being played on the toms, and then going into a jazzy feel for a bar, popping right back into a heavy feel again. WE haven’t even cleared two minutes in yet and they are jumping from style to style and giving the listener a brief moment to get acclimated to the change. All the while they do have a solid groove, that while they change tempo a few times that groove follows the entire time. The guitar solo though, Jerrick will be a more known name after this album I am sure of it. You don’t play the way he is on this and not get attention from it.

8.Delineation

This song starts a bit muffled with the introductory riff, yet you can hear the hi hat being hit, this is a very soothing beginning, I like that it is about to change and it does, the drum pattern on the hi hat accent the rhythm, the perpetual guitar riff and the bass hitting the groove in that low tone. This song seems like it could tell a story, it could leave you thinking about things in a different perspective, and will keep you hanging on every note for the entire 7:17 of song length. 9.Left Unspoken

This song starts out very smooth and melodic, this is a very relaxing tune so far, and I am certainly enjoying the vibe it gives off. This is like once of those intermission tracks, it’s not very long, it doesn’t have many changes, it’s just a cool soothing track to get you brought down from the last song and get you mentally prepared for the last track of the album, the title track.

Voids LP Review by Badger's Metal Breakdown Part 1 of 3

1.Emerge. Evolve. Adapt

The song begins with some muffled guitar tones playing and fading in, becoming clearer until they start playing a steady rhythm. I am enjoying this, it has a feel good groove about it, and then walks along the lines of something heavy. It’s not one hundred percent metal, these guys are blending several styles from metal, to fusion, some classic rock stylings. This is a solid track to start the album out with, and I get the first impression, that this is their simple song, the song that gives you a good first impression to get your attention. The hold down the groove, and really lay it on thick so you can be nodding your head, tapping your foot, rocking out in general, and really enjoy their unique intrumetal delivery.

2.Negate The Infinite

I called it, this is a bit more complex than the previous track, this band is not only playing some killer music in the form of instrumental metal, and they are bringing their talents for different music styles, and technical abilities to the table as well. Jerrick can definitely hold his own on the guitar. This has spawned the sudden urge to break out the air guitar. You know what I’m talking about, that moment you hear a sick riff, and you just want to rock out on the air guitar trying to follow the whirlwind shredding riff and all of its finger placements along the fret board. I always enjoy when I can hear the bass in most music because so often they get buried underneath, and some bassists can really deliver so sick bass lines. Jordan holds things down very well.

3.Like Moths To a Flame

It is way too early to say that this is my favorite track, but I have listened to this one a few times already. I am really digging the way they start this song off, that rhythm, and how they take it, play it for a few bars, add more dynamics to it, and progress with that foundation. The guitar hits us with some solo action around the 1:52 mark, and while it not a dizzying shredfest, it’s a soulful solo. The tempo is quick enough to keep your energy levels up there and your head nodding. This is a fun song to listen to, and what I really like is that Lukas is not trying to play over the guitar or bass. He is not trying to take the spotlight, and he is not hiding in the shadows either. He keeps the beat, keeps it interesting and does so by balancing his talents all across the boards, knowing when to play something with panache, and when to just keep the time.

4.Motives

The song starts with a heavier feel to it for the first ten seconds and then goes to a more fluid style. The guitar is playing out to some extent, without getting to flashy. I like the change around the 1:30 mark because it sets up the next section and you can see how they progress throughout the song. At the 2:25 mark, the drums and bass set things up for a very cool sequence of the drums keeping the beat and the guitar is playing a cool riff while it may be simple what he is doing, all three of them doing it together blends well and sounds awesome. The last minute of this song is badass, the guitar solo, how it starts out simple and then shreds for a few bars, the drums playing on the toms with the accents on the crash, while the guitar is also accenting on the same notes. This song ends in such a manner that it leaves you hoping that the next thing you hear is going to blow you away.

Voids LP Review by Music Existence Part 2 of 2

For the following track, “Before There Were Eyes To See,” there’s a context in the instrumentation that suggests an intensified fear stemming from having no sight. It presents itself much like a maze, full of jagged paths, steep slopes and unforeseen turns. The solo melodies around the 2:20 mark represent momentary progress, while the crafty funk riffs at 3:35 are akin to the brainstorming in finding more efficient ways to work around that disability. Once the riffs increase in prominence, they are then succeeded by a newfound triumph that lasts to the end of the song.

“The Plot Thickens” continues the latter part of the album with a similar complexity, although the stylistic variety is a lot easier to notice. Beginning in a Foo Fighters-esque punk stance, it continues to explore the unexpected lushness of underground gems (Vanilla Trainwreck’s Mordecai comes to mind) before tapping into Counterparts-era Rush for subsequent measures. A slight variation of the main riff returns, only to veer further into mystery by taking the darker, prog metal route. Whereas this song maximizes its capacity for integrating numerous styles into a single flow, the approach for “Delineation” is much more straightforward. The attention to detail in its dynamics simply surpasses precision. It carefully builds up a clean-to-moderate foundation of sparse, yet intricate notes. Then just when you think it turn out the same as the others, the tone becomes blunt and doomy, reaching its full extreme. The drums are brutal and relentlessly fast, backing what would normally fit a slower rhythm but succeeding on every front. To once again restart the momentum, “Left Unspoken” stays entirely mellow. It is the shortest song by far, but doesn’t feel like it needs to showcase any extra besides its calming, cave-like intimacy. By the time the song completes, the listener is fully prepared for the final track: the eponymous “Voids”. Rather than be in the vein of typical heaviness which was showcased through the majority of the album, this track emits an undeniable sense of fun. The structures are still compelling, but something about its generally positive main riff and colliding solos resembles a relaxed, let’s-get-together jam session. The members seem to play directly off one another, shaping each phase with sensibly flowing ideas, and especially making sure to set clear points between where each phase begins and ends. It is the ideal way to wrap up the album, with its remainder fading out in that same distortion, just as the album began.

Overall, Voids simply screams diversity with pride. Every song, despite having a virtuous nature, has an accessible and engaging taste for melody. There are plenty of more conventional parts throughout that up-and-coming guitar players will have fun with and eventually master. In doing so, Voids will certainly redefine how instrumental music is both appreciated and comprehended on a larger scale.

Voids LP Review by Music Existence Part 1 of 2

Spokane, Washington’s Odyssey came together for one simple purpose: to create instrumental music that is not only progressive, but identifiable and able to elicit maximum listener response. True to their mission, they succeeded. The prog trio is pushing their first decade together with a total of five releases under their belt. Each release sees continual evolution, sounds spanning from rough-hewn thrash metal to straight-ahead melodic rock. On their latest album, Voids, Odyssey emphasizes further that a vast amount of substance and meaning can be gained from non-vocal heavy music.

The first track, “Emerge. Evolve. Adapt,” exemplifies how effectively the title captures its stylistic components. It starts with an “emerging” mass distortion bolstered by prominent tapped bass notes. The song’s percussion also works accordingly. Even the standard mid-tempo groove and time signature that carries through the first minute and a half is worth cranking, preparing the listener for something of greater intensity. A metalcore riff subsequently begins the “evolve” phase, its accentuation by the drums and bass complemented through its shifting toward a grungier tone. Once the staccato riffing came into play, it left a large imagination as to finding which type of vocalist could suit the track, which the lead melody competently fills. I’d consider a perfect summation of the song’s ‘adapt’ phase to begin around the 2:55 mark, where an early Sabbath-inspired riff asserts itself much like the metalcore one. As it builds, the riff gets a richer depth and an up-tempo rhythm as if to adapt to a modern music climate. “Negate the Infinite” has a narrower focus by contrast, but its headbanging quality keeps the listener pumped through a majority of the song. It consistently exerts force for its shorter length, and while thrash elements are certainly strong, they definitely don’t overstay their welcome. I was also fond of the silky solos during each breakdown phase, as here they are especially needed in keeping the song’s heaviness in check. To say I was surprised by “Like Moths to a Flame” would be an understatement. Not only do I praise it for being indirectly reminiscent of Failure’s material, but it is actually my favorite of the initial three songs. It has a different focus, this time leaning more toward alt-rock rawness than virtuosity. By the rhythmic shift at the 2:56 mark, the chords in relation to the drums resemble a moth dying after being drawn toward the light. Generally the way the main riff hits the listener is just right, not to mention extremely hooky. But should such potential belong to any track, it is found in “Motives,” which was rightfully chosen as the album’s carrier single. I have to hand it to the band sustaining a middle-ground guitar tone even with its decidedly dark vibe, for it provides the general instrumentation with decent breathing room. The bass has a sort of juicy clarity to its tone, particularly when backing the waltz-based percussion. Besides its single appeal, the song ultimately does justice in its depiction of a sinister mind at work.

“Echoes” opportunely cleanses the middle of the album with simple, light solo arpeggios. Its backing textures share equal reverberation while elevating those melodies. Not too distant from the mix is a standard hi-hat rhythm gradually shifts into a graceful jazz groove. The song reveals itself to be more on the conventional side, although it still exudes confidence in its execution. Admittedly I had initially assumed the song was going to stagnate, but patience made me consider otherwise. There seems to be a subtle combination of classic 80s metal (chord-wise) and a modern underground reverb that works really well and it has grown on me with a few more listens.

Album Breakdowns by Thrash Metal Guide Part 2 of 2

"An Abstract Existence" would be another no-brainer for the technical metal lovers, starting with the dry abstract shredder "Cellular Deconstruction", which has a few more melodic surprises (mostly in the lead department) later on, without losing the futuristic edge of the jumpy guitars, which comes nicely supported in the middle by stylish orchestral insertions. "Transcending the Earthly Form" is calmer spacey progressive ala Canvas Solaris, despite the several more aggressive riffs heard in the 2nd half. Time for something bigger and more serious: and here comes "An Abstract Existence", a 14-min whirlwind of time and tempo-changes, served with quirky rhythms and funky/jazzy decisions galore, plus a hefty doze of consistent, modern thrashy shred in a solid mid-pace. "Peripheral Aspects" begins with a whirlwind of chaotic leads, but later on things get under control, this composition turning into another hallucinogenic experience, more aggressive (don't read fast), with crushing thrashy and proto-deathy riffs involved, reaching a fine Atheist-like crescendo near the end. "Inputting a Binary Sequence" is brilliant twisted technical thrash with very good bass support, maddening fast sections (with a touch of death metal again), and weird cosmic nuances the latter graced by some of the most complex lead guitar work around. Another colossal piece awaits you at the end: the 20-min "Quantum Symbiotic Inception", the ultimate encyclopaedia of progressive/technical metal, which delivers in all departments, with brutal shredding cuts taking turns with mellow balladic ones, all this having an appealing futuristic edge, with mid-90's Voivod a close soundalike on the more sterile mid-section, and a more officant doomy exit. The guys are pretty much on top of their game at present, and hardly is there any act which can beat them in the all-instrumental sector, and not because that same sector is not the most affluent one on the scene.

Album Breakdowns by Thrash Metal Guide Part 1 of 2

Excellent technical all-instrumental thrash metal of the jumpy hectic, unpredictable, type, not too far from the Canadians Electro Quarterstaff.

The debut, "Objects in Space", is already an accomplished affair, comprising of pretty good diverse instrumentals, like the opening "Iconoclast", which is a creepy offering with meandering riffs, in mid to slow pace with a dry, sterile edge. "Ashes Rain from the Sky" is more dynamic, thrashing intensely with puzzling, multi-layered riffs with a fine surreal flavour. Things get just a bit more simplistic on the shorter jumper "Planetary Implosion", which delivers in a busy, hectic manner. One will have no choice, but to "quietly wait" for the passing of "Quietly Waiting", which is a peaceful, dreamy composition of the balldic variety. "Neural Impulse" is an aggressive proto-deathster of the ultra-complex type, the balladic moments springing up again in the middle, stretching till the end, to give an atmospheric abstract touch to the otherwise intense shredding. "Outlier" is a calmer number, progressive thrash in a consistent mid-tempo without too many adventurous digressions. "Ascendance" is in a similar vein, but the riffs become edgier, although their presence is not felt too much due to the overuse of the leads. The closing "Redemption" is a creepy masterpiece of atmospheric technical thrash which seamlessly moves from aggressive lashing sections to slower, abstract ones the both graced by some of the finest technical riffs around; a brilliant display of high-class musicianship, 12-min of sheer mastery the riffs doing the major damage leaving some room for the leads at the end. This is more than a sure-handed beginning for one of the most talented acts on the scene nowadays, showing a surprising maturity at this early stage.

"Schematics" is an outstanding composition mixing very fast, almost death metal-like, sections with very elaborate maze-y structures supported by some of the most technical riffs around, and awesome bass bottom; the song remains memorable due to the repeated motifs which are still a bit hard to follow comprising numerous time changes. Then hits "Fractured Dimensions", a colossal 11.5-min number, quite an achievement in the progressive/technical thrash metal genre summing up almost everything one could look to hear on such a piece. A riff after riff overflows the listener to a pretty overwhelming effect, and it will inevitably require several listens before one starts getting the picture; very good melodic leads are aslo featured to assist the superb riffwork. "Requiem" is a relaxed take on lead-driven dreamy progressive with no ties to thrash, but "Peripheral Aspects" will make your head spin once again with sudden time and tempo changes mixed with abstract spacey moments ala mid-90's Voivod. Although consisting of just 4 tracks, this effort contains music to fill in a whole full-length easily, and hopefully the guys will delight the technical metal fans with a longer offering soon.