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Odyssey - "The Conscious Device" (CD/EP)

Odyssey - "The Conscious Device" CD/EP cover image

"The Conscious Device" track listing:

1. Esoteric Synthesis (10:17)
2. Via Domus (3:45)
3. The Conscious Device (10:43)

Reviewed by on October 4, 2012

"Much of the 25 minute ride brings to mind the atmospheric and proggy guitar work from the Peter Lindgren days of Opeth, and the release is better described as 'mysterious and atmospheric' than 'skull crushing.'"

Instrumental three piece Odyssey has somehow remained rooted in the underground, despite already self-releasing some seriously quality material and putting on a great live show. Lamentably still lacking label support when other bands with less interesting material managed to get signed, the Spokane act continues its evolution down the path of instrumental/progressive metal with the shorter “The Conscious Device” EP. “Shorter” is of course a relative term in the world of prog metal. The EP may only have three tracks, but it’s still 25 minutes long, with two 10+ minute monsters sandwiching a three-minute interlude song.

Things are significantly tighter in the focus department this time around compared to previous album “An Abstract Existence.” Opening song “Esoteric Synthesis” features noticeably recurring themes and similar guitar riffs laced throughout its extended journey, instead of taking the expected roller coaster ride through various sub-genres and styles. The end result is a nearly perfect flow lacking any jarring transitional moments, as the sound changes are more gradual and 10 minutes end up flying by faster than would be expected.

Odyssey’s songs are crafted to be instrumental, and it’s frequently hard to even imagine what added screams or clean singing would sound like. The music already has a fairly “full” sound without the vocals, which would probably come off like a third (ahem, fourth) wheel. The final track on the EP is a bit of a different story however, as the song has a few parts practically begging for faster drumming paired with screams, which is possibly the first time an Odyssey adventure has ever provoked that response. The song also fades out oddly, which seems like a strange choice for the closer.

“The Conscious Device” still has a significant amount of heaviness, but on the whole, the release is more low-key than the preceding album. Much of the 25 minute ride brings to mind the atmospheric and proggy guitar work from the Peter Lindgren days of Opeth, and the release is better described as “mysterious and atmospheric” than “skull crushing.” It’s great to see the already adventurous Odyssey further expand its musical borders, however, and hopefully some of this sound crosses over to the next full-length.

Highs: A more atmospheric and tightly-focused sound from Odyssey.

Lows: The title track actually would sound better with vocals - a first from the band - and the song ends limply.

Bottom line: Odyssey tries out a new, more focused sound that brings to mind the jazzy, atmospheric guitar work of earlier Opeth.

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)