Regarding the fifth album of these progressive metallers from Maryland (USA), I've got some lack of information, but it seems that Odin's Court completely self-financed their first three albums: the demo Odin's Court (2002) and the albums Driven By Fate (2003), and ReDriven By Fate (2005). In 2008, the band signed with ProgRock Records and released Deathanity, an ambitious album that dealt with the effects of mankind's actions on our planet. This album displayed ambience, dynamics and soul combined with complexity, groove and energy to create a unique, surreal landscape. Deathanity utilized saxophone and female backing vocalists including a configuration similar to that of the classic Pink Floyd- album Dark Side Of The Moon. It also contained a palette scattered with spoken vocal clips and vast ranging sound effects. Special guest vocalists included Tom Englund (Evergrey) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica).
Now their second album Human Life In Motion has been released on ProgRock Records. According to the information on their website, the band have been reduced to a quartet. Since there's no mention of their keyboardist Savino Palumbro anymore, I can't tell you whether he played the keyboards on this record. These may also be played by band leader, vocalist and guitarist Matt Brookins. Furthermore Odin's Court still consists of guitarist Rick Piermont, bass player Craig Jackson and drummer John Abella.
Musically we get a nice combination of progressive metal songs and a number of softer power ballads that sometimes tend to modern rock. Blue Line 5:30 AM (Inops) is a good example of the blend of a softer and more emotional song with some fine progressive hints. Red Glow Dreaming (Laetitia), Blacktop Southbound (Animus) and Leaving Chicago (Moestitia) belong to the same category including some nice extended guitar solos. The heavier songs like The Echo Of Chaos (Poena), There Then, Here Again (Frustror) and Can't Forgive Me (Invidia) truly have a killer riff and show the musicianship of the instrumentalists. The combination of the guitar and bass with well-suited keyboards caressed my ears and I think they should play this card more often. To be more specific: use the force you have. As far as the drums are concerned, I can only have respect for the energy, the musicality and the ability to put so much to all compositions. However, sometimes Abella plays such different patterns leading a life of their own, that it distracts me from the song as a whole. 'Less is more' people sometimes say. My last remark concerns Matt Brookin's voice; you either like it or you don't. That may be too easy a definition for in my opinion Matt has a distinctive voice that takes a few listenings to get used to. Yet sometimes it doesn't work for me.
Human Life In Motion is a good effort from a band that knows how to play their instruments, but the drums are sometimes too emphatically present, which doesn't always do justice to the songs. I have to stick to the short comment about the singer's voice: you either like it or you don't. Let's give these guys a try; the compositions are worth it and you'll probably get used to that voice.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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