Oddland - Origin

(CD 2016, 45:27, Sensory Records SR 3079 )

The tracks:
  1- Esotericism(3:38)
  2- Thanatos(5:19)
  3- Penumbra(3:40)
  4- Untrue(6:04)
  5- Hidden(5:43)
  6- Skylines(3:52)
  7- Unknown(5:18)
  8- Faraway(5:39)
  9- Will(6:12)

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Although Oddland's debut album The Treachery Of Senses had a number of interesting pieces of music, the album did not totally convince me. Somehow I also missed the opportunity to see them perform live at ProgPower Europe. I guess, due to the fact ProgPower Europe is as well a music festival as a gathering of friends from all over Europe and beyond. But still Oddland had gotten under my skin and when the successor Origin was released I asked if I could get a copy to review the album; my guts told me this probably would turn out to be a great album. Here is the story that tells the tale whether or not to follow your gut feeling when music is involved.

A few things have changed since Oddland's debut album. They switched from Century Media to Sensory Records, but that should not be a reason for musical improvement. It's the music that has slightly changed, the songs have become darker and perhaps the more aggressive approach makes that this album gets my full attention. Another fact is the way vocalist Sakari Ojanen shows more dynamics than before. Raw power, so to say. Musically Oddland's music has gained a djenty edge. Listen to the opener Esotericism or the following Thanatos and you notice that gut moving sound when the seventh or even eight down tuned string is played. Sakari and guitarist Jussi Poikonen do have an amazing guitar sound throughout the album. Meshuggah and Devin Townsend producer Daniel Bergstrand has done a tremendous job. Not only the mentioned guitars, but also Joni Palmroth's bass sounds nice and raw. His biggest achievement however is the way he created the huge drum sound, Ville Viitanen almost has a threatening brutal drum sound that perfectly fits in Oddland's new sound. The song that comes closest to the music of the previous album must be Untrue, just a bit lighter than other compositions and should function as the bridge that closes the four year gap between both albums. Musically Oddland takes parts from Soen; during Penumbra, Opeth; Hidden and they even add some fusion parts to their music; Skylines, but the majority of the music leans on the aforementioned lower string acrobatics. Unknown might turn out to be their most catchy tune of the CD, hopefully this one could bring the well-deserved airplay to the band. Due to the production however, it has to be said that the emotions that previous album The Treachery Of Senses released, have been exchanged for a more technical, colder approach. Sakari has grown as a vocalist, but shows a bit less emotion on Origin.

I think my gut feeling was quite OK, regarding this album, Origin is a beautiful album, filled with dark, heavy progressive metal and it should take the Turku quartet a few steps further up the ladder. If the next album combines the emotional side of the debut album, with the progression Sakari made, I guess the maximum amount of stars would be clarified. For now, just half a star less.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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