Friday, 28 December 2012

Bands To Watch: The Odious - Joint Ventures (2012)

So I finally got round to doing another "bands to watch" segment before the end of the year. Any of you progressive/death metal fans out there should enjoy this...

1. Nuchal Cord
2. Ancestral Perplexities
3. The Gynecic Curse
4. Combaticus
5. Minutia
6. A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing
7. Mer/ka/ba
8. Fail Science!
9. Charlie Guiteau
10. Joint Ventures
11. Houses Of Stone

Some bands genuinely leave you at a loss for words upon first discovery, and one of the only bands to do that to me in the last couple of years is Portland, Oregon based progressive death metal act The Odious. Their début E.P. "That Night A Forest Grew..." left me amazed, impressed and definitely craving more. And thanks to a very helpful individual messaging our Facebook page with the information that the band had just released their first album for the price of sweet fuck all I jumped at the chance to review it. This review has taken a while to write however, as this album is certainly a curious beast. However I've tried my best.

This is essentially what The Faceless would be like now if they'd kept the balance of cleans/growls that they had on "Planetary Duality", toned down the shredding and injected a large dose of acid straight into the music to amp up the weirdness. And I mean every word of that last sentence, believe me. There are parts on this album that truly make you think "what in the name of fuck?" but at the same you realise as you listen that the album would be completely different without them. Clean, soulful vocals, wah-pedal drenched funk interludes, crushingly downtuned stoner sections, spoken word rants about aliens and christians, vaguely middle eastern sounding acoustic sections, this album has it all in spades. And with a vastly improved production this time around, it really is enjoyable throughout. Plus with a cover that looks like several Hindu gods and a Native American tribe had an orgy on tons of LSD in the forest while the trees looked on in horror and disgust, it's fucking cool to look at as well.

By all reasoning this album should not work, but it all meshes so well somehow it's hard not love some of the tracks, "Combaticus", "A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing" and "Fail Science!" (Merely for comical reasons) are among my favourites at the moment. However the band never shy away from the fact that at heart they are principally a death metal band, "Charlie Guiteau" (named after the assassin of U.S. president James Garfield) shows off some fantastic growls and death metal style riffing, especially in the intro. The drumming on this release definitely deserves a special mention as well, despite the music being extremely unpredictable, and to be honest, downright weird in parts, the drummer stays in time fantastically and holds it altogether with style.

On final track "Houses Of Stone" all hell literally breaks loose, with a sick groove and truly evil sounding growls. Later on a slightly jazzy influenced bassline kicks in along with the keys to alter the mood altogether. This, added to clean vocals and some bongo drums, causes the track to go from death metal to something tool would come up with if they were a lounge band in a upmarket jazz club. This then shifts to a groovy downtuned guitar riff and and some more devilish growls before beginning to peacefully fade out one instrument at a time, and in the final minute we're left with some thought provoking piano and a spoken word section from what I can only guess is supposed to be a criminal of some sort, leaving the album on an interesting or perhaps completely bizarre ending (depending on your own outlook of course).

I have since been informed that this sample was a recording of a late friend of the band, to whom I offer my admiration and condolences for immortalising their friend on record for the rest of time. A very noble act which makes me appreciate the final song even more.

All in all I think this a fantastic and extremely surprising début full-length from an upcoming band I had in all honesty completely forgotten about. With an intense feeling of embarrassment and shame I can promise I will keep a closer eye on The Odious in the future.


Check this out if: To be honest, you should check this out if you like any kind of heavy or progressive music, it'll surprise you.

Joint Ventures and That Night A Forest Grew are both available from The Odious' bandcamp here
Both are available for name your price, so if you like what you hear, please give them some money so they can continue to make music, even if it's just a small amount. After finishing my review I went and paid them for a proper copy and was glad to do so. You won't be disappointed, trust me.


  1. Hey man, thank you so much for this review, we really appreciate it. I just wanted to let you know though, the sample at the end of Houses of Stone is actually a recording our late neighbor/friend Chuck, he was with us for a large period when we were recording joint ventures, and sadly he passed away from heart complications. The album is dedicated to him

  2. I see, I really misinterpreted that. My condolences. That's a very honourable thing. I hope you this album brings you plenty of new fans and some success, you deserve it. Let me know when the album's available on cd and I'll definitely hit you guys up for a copy.