Odem – Timeless Past Above

Band: Odem
Title: Timeless Past Above
Label: Moribund Records
Release date: 20 November 2020
Country: Russia
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

So, I think it is safe to say, at least as far as I can remember, that I haven´t experienced Russian metal before. In haste to get something done this week I stumbled upon Odem and their new album “Timeless Past Above”. I realized as I listened to it, that I was obviously not the only one in haste.

“Ascendance” came around first with a familiar lurking distant choir approaching but it didn’t last long before blazing fast speed came quickly around. Insanely fast and precise drums rule the environment, a blackened guitar riff tags along and the thick growls serves as the thick frosting on top of it all. It´s quite progressive with odd time signatures, but not to the extent where it became overwhelming. Swinging between modern touch and traditional, there is a razor-sharp performance by all members at hand.

Thundering drums are at it again in “Vermes” where the toms play a major role. A mix of more open chord kind of riffs with heavier palm-muted stuff take turns and the play along between each instrument is incredibly tight. Quite the horror movie feel in a rapid motion. “Desecrate” is by far the shortest track on this list. Opening riffs plays a melody between two guitars with an underlaying fast double bass. The growls don’t really have a sense of tone to it, which makes it fit the music rather well and while not being as insanely super-fast as the previous tracks, this one has a nice headbang feel to it.

“Illuminate” turns on you, beginning with a blackened modern riff, with different growls when it suddenly “stops” for a bit, where atmosphere and emotion gets placed instead. Overall, this track takes a memorable place on the album which isn’t easy to pull off; often enough technical progressive isn’t mentioned with good songwriting material, more of a display of playability supremacy. That is not the case here. The dying last breath the vocalist gives towards the end is haunting, to say the least.

Of course, after ascendance, you must also have “Descendance”. After all, isn’t that the law of physics? Acoustic guitars and more relaxed drums roll around just for a bit before its back to the original route. This track is however by far the most “musical” song so far, different musical styles and feels take turns, and each and every one of them sounds phenomenal. They know how to surprise the listener.

Final track is a cover of Immolation´s “A Glorious Epoch”. It´s not quite in the same key, as well as it does sound faster when I recollect the original sound of the song, but the vocals are quite similar so I suppose it was a fitting choice for a cover.

Honestly, this album is not exclusively for one certain fan group, but I think everyone will at least find something on here to admire. No one can question the band´s instrumental skills, and I think I would go as far as saying those are skills among the best in the business. Jet packed musicality lives here, more than some can even muster in a lifetime, with a strong sense of horror and despair. As a whole there isn´t much to compare it with, and whatever they are doing, they are doing it damn well. 8.5/10 Julia Katrin

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8.5/10 To greatness and glory
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