Oddland have taken a long route to get to their debut release, “The Treachery of the Senses” under Century Media. Launched in 2002 as a rock-oriented band with leanings towards grunge, releasing three demos over the past ten years in 2004 (Against All Odds), 2007 (Connection Critical Behind) and 2010 (Away From The Watching Eye), the band slowly but surely drifted in a metal-oriented direction. It wasn’t really until the 2010 release that they found themselves leaning more towards being the prog-metallers they are today.
As first albums go it’s certainly obvious these guys have the experience as the production, mix and overall quality of musicianship on show is impressive. Oddland make a point of saying this is prog metal at its most creative and doesn’t tend to follow the Dream Theater blueprint but I can’t help but disagree. My very first comparison on hearing the album was to think of Dream Theater and in particular their Images & Words album. Sakari Ojanen’s vocals are at times akin to listening to a deeper James La Brie which in itself is no criticism, likewise the rhythm and melody work throughout are like a heavier version of the Boston giants interspersed with some haunting lighter pieces.
The album starts off very promisingly with a couple of great staccato riffed tracks in “Above and Beyond” and “Flooding Light” both of which gear you up for what feels like an epic slice of prog metal but instead become strong, powerful and hammering through to the end with moments of light and off-kilter sections. This theme is carried through “In The Eyes of the Mourning” and “Aisle of Array” that both start heavily with what appears to be Oddland’s favoured sharp approach to track intros before leading into lilting, powerful ballads that have just a touch of evil riff running through them.
We do see a nice change of tact from “Past the Gates” as its mellow almost jazzy coolness leads us into the second half of the album although it still manages to include some of, what is now becoming apparent as their trademark, that great staccato riffage. In amongst all this Sakari Ojanen’s vocals continue to soar melodically throughout. Probably the standout track musically on the album although “Still the Spirit Stays” is probably my favourite though as it has some great pounding rhythm work and an almost middle eastern feel plus it’s probably the heaviest track on the album with a tremendously funky break before hitting the solos.
We get a bit more of the jazz styled interplay through “In Endless Behaviour” that also carries a somewhat sinister, melancholy melody behind it. The track is complemented greatly with a sweet emotional solo break that just keeps rising towards its end.
Rounding off the album “Sewers” continuous the haunting, melancholy style of the previous track but introduces a good dose of heavy riffs and pounding drums through it to break it up nicely while “Lines of Silver Blood” beats you relentlessly with its complex and melodic runs before “Ire” finishes the album in some style with a little bit of something for everyone.
This album is a great introduction to Oddland that, while not as groundbreaking as they would perhaps lead you to believe, is still an incredibly solid, technical and truly progressive metal album that will catch your ear if you let it.
The Treachery of Senses will be released on CD and Digital Download from Century Media on April 30th
1. Above And Beyond
2. Flooding Light
3. In The Eyes of The Mourning
4. Aisle Of Array
5. Past The Gates
6. Still The Spirit Stays
7. In Endless Endeavour
9. Lines Of Silver Blood
Sakari Ojanen – Vocals, Guitars
Joni Palmroth – Bass
Ville Viitanen – Drums
Jussi Poikonen – Guitars