Odyssey - "Voids" (CD)
"Voids" track listing:
1. Emerge. Evolve. Adapt
2. Negate The Infinite
3. Like Moths to the Flame
6. Before There Were Eyes To See
7. The Plot Thickens
9. Left Unspoken
Reviewed by xFiruath on January 27, 2016
One of the best parts of my job is finding underground bands with loads of potential and watching their growth and evolution over time. It's been quite the pleasure to see Spokane-based trio Odyssey in particular keep on trucking over the years, going from undiscovered group known only to a select few to a label-backed entity (and now back full circle to independent again). I always get a kick out of seeing other metal sites finally discover Odyssey and catch on to this stellar instrumental secret.
Here we are now in 2016 with latest full-length “Voids,” and this is probably Odyssey's finest hour thus far. There's something a little different on each track, showcasing a deep knowledge and proficiency with many different sub-genres, but all performed through a technical/progressive filter. Where this album shines even above past releases is in the combination of style and substance: the atmosphere at play in each track does an outstanding job of getting a very clear, specific idea across without using any vocals.
“The Plot Thickens” is where this idea shines through most strongly and is the perfect track name, as within seconds of first hearing this curious offering, you will undoubtedly be thinking exactly that. Listening to the song feels like watching an unfolding thriller or reading a noir novel as secrets are revealed. The specifics of the story are up to the listener to fill in, but there is very clearly a strong idea being conveyed here through instrumental music alone, without any lyrics to walk you through it. “Left Unspoken” hits that perfect sound as well, as you can hear the emotion in the music of this atmospheric song that provides a little breather from all the surrounding technicality.
Previous EP release "The Turning Tide" saw the beginning of a change in the song lengths towards the shorter end, and “Voids” is where the right balance is getting hit in Odyssey's discography. There are still long tracks (the disc's 10 cuts range from 3 to 7 minutes) but those 10 and 19 minute offerings are gone. While mammoth, never ending songs are a prog trademark, this more moderate approach really works in Odyssey's favor and hits the sweet spot.
There's lots of room for the songs to have multiple transitions, but not so much you're going to lose interest or hit “skip” on any one song. “Before There Were Eyes To See” for instance starts off with a thrash riff and then changes drastically into a more mysterious mood, while “Echoes” is a very melancholy track. The ending title track in particular nails the transitions, shifting from upbeat to dark to aggressive and finally back to prog meandering.
Although it happens from time to time, in general Odyssey crushes it on the instrumental front and you won't often find yourself missing the vocals at all. If there's a change to be made from here following “Voids,” I'd like to hear the Odyssey sound presented with a hyper-clean and sterile production. While some find that to be the bane of metal, it would probably work better with this instrumental approach and allow the bass to be more prominent instead of getting lost beneath the guitars. That personal preference aside, “Voids” is a top-notch instru-metal album that's kicking off metal in 2016 with a bang.
Highs: Excellent instrumental metal that covers a wide range of sub-genres
Lows: For a prog metal album, the bass has a pretty small presence in the mix, and every now and again the presence of vocals wouldn't hurt.
Bottom line: This is Odyssey's finest hour, giving us excellent instru-metal that spans many different moods and themes
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Odyssey band page.