Jul 18, 2012
Odyssey - "Abysmal Despair" ...
Now it has to be noted right off the bat that this isn't a classy album as it is raw, rough around the edges and has low-fi production but there is an energetic charm to these noisy dirges that becomes addictive after a few spins. The sound of the band is bass-driven and strangely, the vocals have a southern-blues twist to them which makes the band unique among other stonerized sludge-rock bands. The vocals are delivered with a lot of passion but some of the excessive screaming parts might seem a little grating to some listeners. The album like I have already hinted at is not what you could call catchy riff rock but it has some very "retro" moments. 'Wolfspit And Witches Breat' kicks off sounding like a long-lost Grand Funk Railroad track while 'No Fucking Way' has massive 70's psych-rock inspired riffing with a slight progressive rock twist. A buddy of mine compared some of their passages to being like a 70's punk-rock version of early Mastodon and I think that is fairly accurate. The two tunes I just mentioned both come from the second half of the album and that is where this album really takes off. The first half of the album however is a lot harder to digest at first.
The opener 'Pyramids' blends stoner-metal, 70's punk and very aggressive sludge-metal but without nailing any one direction so it sounds a little convoluted and comes off a bit ambiguous and ambivalent stylistically. This leaves you scratching your head wondering what kind of band are they trying to be. They certainly don't sound like anyone else exactly, which is a good thing but the lack of hooks means there is little to remember about songs like 'Pyramids.' The closest they come to a hooky song comes with the second tune 'Wicked Witch' which at least has a more concise appeal to it while the following title track is just a total out-and-out bombastic riff and noise fest that while not too infectious, knocks you into the dirt with sheer power and energy. 'Keloma' is one of the album most "punk" moments while the last two album tracks 'This Ship Is Sinking' and 'Darkred' bring the album to a very heavy, noisy, energetic close. When you listen to this album from start to finish, you get the impression that they are a little confused on what kind of direction they want to go in. Is it the stoner/doom/sludge metal crowd they are after are they looking for drugged-up 70's punk-psych rock listeners? I guess it doesn't really matter at the end of the day if you just have great songs and there is a lot to love about Odyssey's 'Abysmal Despair' but where they fit in with the whole stoner-sludge-doom-psych-retro scene is hard to say. 'Abysmal Despair' is available on Transubstans Records and is something you have to hear for yourself. It is not the most memorable or catchy album going around but there is refreshing about it that will have you coming back to it time and time again....8/10.
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