Saturday, November 24, 2012

Odem - Rape Your God And Pray For Reprieve

Odem. This is the last of the slough of Daemon Worship promos I've received and, perhaps because of this, I'm just slightly burnt out on this whole exaggerated black metal style. Honestly, it's almost a parody at this point. I can't see how anyone could listen to nothing but this style of black metal all the time. The only reason I've maintained my sanity through the whole ordeal of these eight or nine releases has been time in between to cleanse my ears with copious amounts of Manilla Road and Fates Warning, heaping piles of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost and gorging myself on holiday dinners. I had done a rough listening of this album, taking some notes such as "band has preoccupation with sharp objects" and "carnivalesque melody in the right side guitars." There were some things worth picking out on "Rape Your God And Pray For Reprieve," this Russian band's first full length.

As evidenced on all the other DWP releases I've reviewed, the musicianship is phenomenal and the production is classily polished yet aggressive. Compare it to any of the previous releases I've reviewed from this throbbing label: Israthoum, Dodsengel, Bestia Arcana or Necrosadist... Production-wise they are all on par with the recent 1349 releases, the last Absu releases - at least back to Tara - or Watain's Sworn to the Dark. I don't know how this happens when bands from far reaches of the world all have similarly produced albums. Slightly different guitar tones, sure, but the high level of engineering and sound design for these releases is extraordinary. If there is one thing about all the DWP releases it has to be that the label is very much focused on presenting releases that are beyond the bedroom black metal sound. I can respect a label that has set boundaries in terms of production for it's releases. So here, the guitars sound a little bit more reptilian. The vocals are more subdued than some of the other releases - especially the Israthoum release - which works because they are not nearly as unique as other bands on the roster. The drums are well played, interesting and varied. Bass is robust though difficult to pick out at times.

It's black metal. Get it?

I hear a lot of influences in the album. Immortal is prevalent on several tracks such as Nails as the Weapon of Hatred and Tortured By Razors. I hear death metal influences from Incantation on tracks as well and perhaps this coupled with the black metal reminds me of Adversarial, particularly on fifth track Immersion. Emperor shows through often as does early Absu. Odem are not afraid to experiment at times such as with momentary lapses of tradition in the guitar leads department, meandering atonal layers and trysts into different textures such as three-quarters through Tortured By Razors. You pair all this together and highlight Antaeus with a cover of Blood War III and you have a pretty solid album musically though I can't say any particular song stands out to me, it's not an offensive listen.

Lyrically, something I did notice, as mentioned earlier was an obsession with sharp objects - nails, spikes, hammers, scalpels, cutting, piercing... the list goes on. Other times the lyrics are combinations of words and thoughts that make no sense and  made me laugh outright several times. I think my favorite combination of nonsensical lyrics were off the seventh track, simply titled "VII." It's not everyday that you see black metal bands playing with barbie dolls so when vocalist KH remembers his childhood and compares it to his present day interest in industrial chemicals and machinery it's only understandable his lyrics would sound like a sadomasochists user manual for building a replica dollhouse. "...dense ordinariness personification… Oxides of humanism in a phallic perfection… Candles made of infants’ fat… 'these dolls have no eyes!' says a cripple-child…writhing in sardonic repugnant miasmas..."

Overall, enjoyable and intense though at times a bit lackadaisical compositionally. The elements work nicely together though transitions are often times off the cuff and spontaneous necessities instead of being placed with care and conviction. It's alright though... Odem have made a solid debut with quality in many areas. I expect that with experience and maturity we could see this duo make their Motherland proud.

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