The Odious - Vesica Piscis - (8.5/10)
Published on June 23, 2019
‘The Odious’ is a progressive metal band from Portland that has recently released the third full length album titled “Vesica Piscis”. Once again I must conjure the prog & tech enthusiasts because this record plays on the more difficult side of the progressive realm. It’s on that risky gray area where it’s becoming too hard on the listener. That has always been a debatable topic, depending on where one draws the line and considers the music too technical. Either way, Vesica Piscis is one of the more tiresome albums in the prog-tech scene this year and I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t at all familiar with this area of music.
However, if you Dance for Eternity in Blackwater Parks, be welcome and enjoy. The album begins with “Scape” an intro track with piano followed by what sounds like a horror radio news program. This easily sets the slightly psychotic and psychedelic tone of the album before the mash-up of killer grooves rhythm patterns and technical melodies starts flowing with “Repugnant”. The band has lots in common with the likes of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend and Opeth but the one most obvious similarity I believe is with Between the Burried and Me. I’m not BTBAM’s greatest connoisseur but having heard them before I can clearly see the similarity. The fuzzy distorted tone of guitars and bass with playful progressive rhythm cannot be missed.
The mix of psychedelic clean and harsh vocals with massive dynamic progressive patterns is the main definitory feature of the band. Guitars and drums are equally responsible for the twisted rhythm section. Constant shifts in pace and energy create a very mobile cinematic foundation that the vocals hover above almost as a separate layer. Even slightly djenty stuff enhanced by the guitar tones and some electronic vocal effects push further onto the mechanized texture of the music. Dissonant distorted guitar melodies are omnipresent and alongside the hollow and predominantly high pitched screaming it creates a truly corrosive acid sound for the band. There’s a frenzy of staccatos, vibratos, bending that create a constant bipolarity between flow and groove with a truckload of great transitions.
So there’s your musical labyrinth, but the band does take some measures to balance out the extremes with some slower interludes and clean guitars. This for me is one of the best assets, especially the fact that they can do it while maintaining articulate staccato bits and the layered clean vocals. However the downside is that the album is still a bit of a burdening experience and for me it crosses on the other side of the gray area. If there’s one thing I’d hoped for is to see more piano like the one in the intro throughout the album. It could totally help soften the rough edges of the record and make it more accessible. The use of layered vocals and some easier melodies that shows up sporadically could also be used more to have a balanced end result. But that’s just me… Overall this album is a very impressive piece of music and I would recommend it if you like the list of similar bands or prog & technical stuff in general.