After a quick and very pleasant memory of refresh of Oddland’s “Treachery of Senses”, which I bought after being mesmerised by them at ProgPower Europe in 2013, I was ready for this one. I recalled that these Finns play a very technical brand of prog metal, sometimes in the melancholic style of their fellow countrymen Sentenced and at others like old Opeth, but always with interesting and modern twists.
The prog’s there, the technicality is there, the djent is there. What I struggled with at times was the blending of the three and the apparent quest for experimental and technical complication. Sometimes it works really well. “Skylines”, which appears mid-way through the album, has a nice calming prog start before developing into a rousing tech-djent extravaganza. But on a number of occasions I found myself mystified by the switch from heavy, frenetic and/or complex djent to a high vocal line or melancholic song. This happens on “Esotericism”, whose vocals were grating, and “Hidden”, which at least had a nice pattern at one point. It’s not bad at all, but it seemed to me that Oddland have tried too much here. The songs are multi-layered but also quite difficult as sympathetic pieces. “Thanatos” features a kind of jazz experimentalism, while “Untrue” is tech metal blast. It’s jerky, irregular and without a structure I could identify with readily. Harmonies are tried on “Unknown”, while “Faraway” has an element of Anubis Gate about it, but with impressively dark prog layers. “Origin” is an album of surprises and I found I had to listen to it a few times to get used to the layers. “Penumbra” is typical – progressively colourful with a dark song lurking behind it, but with rough vocals, which didn’t help it. The final song is “Will”, which again has this strange mix of emotive vocals amid a complex technical framework. I should have expected it.
This album is a logical progression from “Treachery of Senses”, which suggested new territories. Here Oddland explore them. It is to Oddland’s credit that they are adventurous. I confess that whilst I found “Origin” interesting, it didn’t always work for me. Yet the interest never went away, and I guess I might get there after a hundred listens. For me this album goes in the “technically obscure but interesting” box
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)