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Odyssey - "Schematics" (CD/EP)

Odyssey - "Schematics" CD/EP cover image

"Schematics" track listing:

1. Schematics
2. Fractured Dimensions
3. Requiem
4. Peripheral Aspects

Reviewed by on December 17, 2010

"Besides being a completely worthwhile journey into the mechanics and technicality of metal, the 'Schematics' EP also gives people who don’t enjoy extreme vocals a chance to delve into heavier music."

“Instrumental metal band” almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, or perhaps a description of an epic symphonic band, but neither is the case for Spokane’s Odyssey. Bucking any notion of how a death metal-influenced band has to sound, Odyssey is a three piece by choice, leaving out the vocals to let the instruments steal the show. Besides being a completely worthwhile journey into the mechanics and technicality of metal, the “Schematics” EP also gives people who don’t enjoy extreme vocals a chance to delve into heavier music.

Technical death metal is the order of the day with the opening title track, and since it’s all instrumental there is a big bass presence. The bass is almost always heard throughout the whole EP, which is a very welcome change from the majority of extreme metal bands. Like the rest of the songs, “Schematics” goes through several different changes in sound to showcase the range of possibilities inherent to guitar based heavy metal. The track throws in an interesting fade out and fade back in prior to the actual end of the song, with a surprise finale before moving into the 11 minute “Fractured Dimensions.”

The second track takes up the bulk of the disc, and starts off with a melodic and atmospheric introduction before diving into somewhat of a mathcore sound. Throughout the cycles of highly technical metalcore, the bass takes over the lead and the guitar lapses into a supporting role. Around the halfway mark, the song strikes off into epic territory with long, sweeping guitar sounds. Unfortunately the song’s length is its Achilles heel, as it does overstay its welcome a bit, even with all the transitions.

After the massive duration of “Fractured Dimensions” the EP offers some respite in the form of “Requiem,” a three minute interlude of melodic and showy guitar work. The disc ends on “Peripheral Aspects,” which starts out more in the death metal vein. The track has a series of repeating loud and crunchy segments that bring to mind The Alien Blakk.

Even lacking a vocalist (although the band itself probably wouldn’t use the word “lacking”), Odyssey still maintains a constant stream of full force metal and has a wide range of transitions without relying on a vocal dynamic. Fans of just about any style of metal can probably dig this, and fans of technical metal in particular will enjoy the level of proficiency displayed by the band.

Highs: Highly proficient technical metal with a wide range of changing sounds.

Lows: The 11 minute "Fractured Dimensions" doesn't hold up well for its entire duration.

Bottom line: Technical all-instrumental metal that shows you don't need a vocalist to be extreme.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)