Odin’s Court 2016
Maryland prog metal ensemble return to square one – with a weight of experience and undiminished vigor.
Whether it’s a good idea to R3 – remix, re-record vocal parts and remaster – a debut album to give it a common denominator with a latest one, which featured a new singer, is debatable: bands usually deliver such update on-stage. But if 2015’s "Turtles All The Way Down" lacked some immediacy, going back to simpler times may seem logical, especially when it comes to 2008’s “Deathanity” that this quintet hold dear. The second take on it can’t fix the work’s original flaws, possibly the very roots of simplicity – although a rendition of “Ode To Joy” is hardly simple, Beethoven wrote more than just the Ninth symphony to choose from, and Ritchie Blackmore was first there anyway, with no need for two guitars to cut it – yet a few songs certainly get another lease of life.
Dimetrius LaFavors belting it out on the likes of “Volatilestial” where jazzy piano and acoustic strum add texture to sleek heaviness, as ivories do on the coda of “Mammonific” before “Animaulic” ramps a ballad harmonies up to power metal, there’s still a lot of pathos on many a track. Still, if prog behind “Cosmosera” may resolve into an awkward pummelling and bursts of growling, the sax-embellished “Obesite” is a fine example of classic AOR, while “Vastificant” and “Oceanica Toxica” stand out as a fantastic instrumental pieces where delicate folk sensuality and iridescent six-string riffs create an ever-shifting tapestry of dreams.
If this canvas provides the band with a trampoline for further progress, the loop back is justified. As of now, it’s only a pit-stop on the way there.