Odious Mortem – Synesthesia

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: Willowtip
Released: January 2020
Buy Album: https://odiousmortem.bandcamp.com/album/synesthesia
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/odiousmortemofficial

Band Line-up:

Dan Eggers – Guitar
KC Howard – Drums/Guitar
Joel Horner – Bass
Anthony Trapani – Vocals

Tracklisting:

1. Dormant Retribution 2:52
2. Condemnation Foretold 4:41
3. Ruins of the Timeworn 3:08
4. Replenish the Earth 4:04
5. In Abominable Form 3:07
6. Eagle’s Tower 4:11
7. Cave Dweller 3:25
8. Spirit Hole 3:51
9. Synchronicity 4:04
10. Dissonant Theology 4:40

Review:

I am a little familiar with the California technical death metal scene having been introduced to it during the time I lived near Los Angeles. This band reminded me of the days I went to tech death gigs. Odius Mortem have been at it over a decade, yet I somehow missed this band. Perhaps I have seen them live or heard them before but I cannot remember, and it’s been a while since I listened to this genre. And their first release in over a decade is their third album, ‘Synesthesia’, released in January 2020 with the label Willowtip Records. 10 brutal tracks for any fan of technical and progressive death metal.

The album starts right off with relentless fury with the track “Dormant Retribution”. There’s no slow build-up or introduction, it gets straight into the meat of what this band is offering, but 3 songs in it’s kind of feeling a little repetitive. Beginning to end fast pace with little to no changes in pace or breaks, every track blasts by and starts and finishes abruptly. It is not until track 6, “Eagle’s Tower”, that I hear something a little different. A slow, ominous buildup of melodic guitar and bass which leads to a wall of chaotic technical riffs and blast beats. I wish they had played longer and more with the tempo of the start of this track and brought it back into breaks. I suppose being a fan of Between the Buried and Me I enjoy having metal that has different movements in a song. With this album each song is balls to the wall brutal death metal with little room to breathe. This makes each track sound kind of the same.

Track 9, “Synchronicity”, is where I get that breath. It’s a bit of a wild card on the album. It sounds classical but performed with electric guitars without distortion. Very clean melodic playing showcases some excellent technical guitar skills. No drums, no vocals, and just clean melodic playing. In the second half it gets heavy and the drums come in but carry on the classical melodies. It’s a purely instrumental track and the title describes it well. The last track starts with a short bass groove for a mere second and we are back at the wall to wall fast paced, face-melting technical metal.

The skills the band have are unarguably quite good, there is no denying they can skilfully craft and play speedy melodic riffs. This album has very few slow spots: it is start to end aggressive in most songs and while the flow is good and each track is only around 3-5 minutes, most of them sort of sound very alike and there’s very little respite and breaks. I am used to bands like Periphery, Animals as Leaders, The Contortionist, and Between the Buried and Me. With the name of this album and the tracks I was expecting something a bit more outside the box, like science fiction meets metal. If you like wall to wall death metal then this is the album for you. I just find it often a little repetitive.

Tracks 6 and 9 were my favourites. They added something a little different to the album. I love heavier stuff but there’s a point where it sort of becomes like white noise and basically something to hear in the background while I am doing something. All the musicians are very talented, know what they are doing and the album is cohesive. I hear every instrument in balance and the vocals are not drowned out. The bass grooves and playing shine in this along with the melodic technical guitar riffs. Overall, I give it a 3 out of 5. It’s a solid album and delivers a heavy load of death metal. Give them a listen and if you like it, show your support. All artists really need it right now.

Review by

Cathrine Wendt

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