Global Scum is the one-man project of Austrian multi-instrumentalist Manuel Harlander and “Odium” is the second release from the project, following on from the highly praised debut offering “Hell Is Home” which came out in the closing stages of 2017. Much like the debut release, “Odium” is an angry record which doesn’t pull any punches musically or contextually. It takes aim at many of the things in current global affairs which Harlander takes issue with; perverse psychopaths, terrorism and corrupt politicians and upon them, unleashes the full force of his groove metal assault. So, with a name literally meaning hate, let us see if there is anything to like.
The first thing of note about “Odium” is how aggressive the sound is. Groove Metal is a fairly broad genre which can be laid back and heavy or slipping in and out of the thrash and death metal territories. It is fairly clear that this is a case of the more intense end of the spectrum as the no holds barred, take no prisoners approach is fairly reminiscent of Groove Metal titan Max Cavalera’s numerous projects; Sepultura, Nailbomb, Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy. Simple and straight to the point; pure aggression distilled into a furious metal assault. That is of course, once you pass through the obligatory sample laden “Lunatic” which has some eerie air raid siren samples and a chilling ambience, almost as a precursor to the storm to come.
“Feared” opens up the album after a heavy guitar riff chug begins. It has that hallmark down-tuned edge to it, that mechanical quality and powerful presence. As it swells in intensity, it finally kicks in with a fast paced rhythmic assault. Harshly shouted vocals give way to more feral growls, the drums are relentless with their double-kick driven attack and the simple approach to hammering the shit out of the guitar and bass works well. The slight reprieve in the groove section later in the track which leads to a headbang friendly breakdown and lead section is the only real spicy part of the track, the rest is just simple, hard hitting riffs. “Fake As Fuck” is a fast one. Soulfly-esque in its delivery, the vocals hold a commanding presence and the riffs are straight forward; fast paced for the verse and soloing, slower and pounding for the breaks and chorus. It is a track guaranteed to ignite a volatile live crowd!
As you get further into the album, it is more of the same; minimalistic structured songs lacking any major complexity. Fast and furious or slow and pounding, the riffs and the rhythm section work together with minimal fuss to back up a harsh vocal performance. There are moments where you can hear shades of Ministry and Devildriver and Fear Factory in the sound on some of the tracks; be it the vocal distortion, the mechanical tone Dino is known for, or the way some of the riffs are voiced, it is fairly easy to get to grips with. This isn’t a release which caters to the technically inclined, it is a release which tries to fill the need to scream, shout and headbang. “Assassins” is a track loaded with intensity. The distorted low register riffing with machine gun like bursts provides a solid backdrop for some hate-filled roaring vocals and the rawness of the track makes it perfect for those who are angry and want to blow off some steam. The same can be said of “Call For Resistance” and “Martyrium” which has one hell of a rhythmic hook to it.
“Odium” is straightforward groove metal. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it just does what it does with minimal fuss. Powerful, heavy and intense, it borrows from the classic era of Sepultura and mixes it with the middle to current era of Soulfly, adding in other influences in small doses to round out the sound. A solid wall of rhythm and riffs, it demands headbanging and it is hard to resist its pull. Other than this powerful rhythmic pull, there isn’t much else to say about this. The musicianship is impressive and Harlander certainly has a commanding presence vocally, but once you get past that, “Odium” is just simple and angry groove metal. Fun, enjoyable but not exactly reinventing the wheel.