Tuesday, February 11, 2020

review: Odious Mortem

Odious Mortem
Willowtip Records
January 17th, 2020
This blasting technical album is meant to be a comeback for the California-based outfit that has two previous albums under its name, but they have not had a new work, according to Metal Archives since 2007. Their 2003 demo and 2005 debut album were full of promise, but given that people do judge a book by its cover, those works, despite the good execution, painted the band into that corner where gore, horror, shock, and brutality are found. The band was not a low-intelligence musical execution, but you were forgiven for thinking that they were a teenage horror-movie zombie freak battalion due to their gore-like imagery/artwork and some of the lyrics. The 2007 album seemed like a better-presented work overall; despite some low IQ lyrics in some spots, the artwork was better and so were the lyrics, generally speaking. Even so, the package was lacking something.
Look at the new and improved Odious Mortem 2020 strut their stuff. They’re back in black and ready to deliver the technical metal attack. Now this is more like it. Whatever they were missing, they obviously have figured it out, because if you love fast, technical metal and you want it to be presented in an intelligent way, then open this door and walk through it.
For instance, the lyrics have improved tremendously. The lyrics seem like writing exercises from having read books or watched documentaries on genetics, existentialism, science or general matters along those lines. They are, you could say, lyrics that make people say, “What are these lyrics about?!” It’s not the usual metal lyrics about egomaniacal ramblings, movies, the news, cheap political statements about “the resistance” or whatever. It is true that you might think that Odious Mortem lyrics seem like a math teacher talking to a geneticist talking to a philosopher talking to a conspiracy theory nut at a cocktail party, or something! What does this mean?:
Timeless memories still breathing, imprisoned behind new eyes
Choking on stale air, stagnant poisoned state, shackled to the DNA
Or, this?
Glaring at the perilous infinite
Soon taken to the main room, forced to face absurdity
Distractions slowly retract then vanish, after being trapped and banished
You may not know exactly what they are growling about, but if you read the lyrics, you may reach your own conclusions, which is probably just fine with the band. Go do your own research on extraterrestrial genetics modification theories, and see what you come up with!
Another example is the artwork. Take a look at the cover. What do you see? The cover is not making a statement. It’s more like asking a question: What is your response to this artwork? Do you see chaos? The same could be said of the music. Do you hear noise, chaos and ugliness? Do you hear the music within the high-speed blistering noise?
Everyone has their preferences, so let’s end with two key questions. 1.Do you or do you not have a keen interest in blasting, technical extreme metal? 2.Does it matter to you whether it sounds like sampled drumming or like real drums?
The band prefers drums that sound real (but whether these actually are the real, live drums from the studio or if it’s just a different drumming program, that’s something that the band can answer). They have chosen a sound that is not clicky, and the result is a thicker, more robust drum sound. The difference between this drum sound and the clicky, soft, plastic-toy sound of lots of technical metal is obvious for fans of the genre. Online the band has posted a segment of raw footage of the drummer recording his parts for the album. In that video the drums do not as muscular as on the album. Therefore, it is not clear what is sampled on the album and what is not.
On the other hand, fans of technical metal should certainly find out for themselves if they notice the difference between this band and the ├╝berrobotic sound common in technical metal. This album is ridiculously fast and crazy and all that stuff. Odious Mortem 2020 is basically perfect for fans of fast, technical, brutal, headbanging death metal, especially if you are searching for a drum sound that seems more genuine than total drum programming/sampling.

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