Psychedelic Tech-Death Masters Return After 13 Years
Synesthesia is the third release from California technical death metal legends Odious Mortem. Listening to this album puts you back in time of the age of early Unique Leader Records. The brutality, production, and distinctive techniques from virtuosos leaves you reminiscing of what the record label represented back then.
Their second record Cryptic Implosion came out in 2007 off Willowtip Records and is still mind blowing to this day. With catchy unorthodox riffing, unique song structures, and endless high-speed rhythms, it’s an album hard to surpass. But nonetheless Synesthesia combines their sound from their first two records while remaining dynamic and worthwhile.
The track “Spirit Hole” has a dark overall vibe and grove that throws it back to Suffocation’s Pierced From Within era. Dissonant chords and melodies that stick in the head.
The vocals throughout the album have a deep low-end to them with precise articulation. Even though there is not much range to the vocals in tone, they are powerful and stand out different then most death metal vocals these days. A notable track vocal wise with insane rhythms and stamina would definitely be “Replenish The Earth”.
One of the first songs they released for the album, “Ruins of The Timeworm” has some Ron Jarzombek inspired leads that go into a spiraling dissonance towards the end.
“In Abominable Form” is filled with killer melodic harmonies all over and is memorable to the ear first listen. There are guitar solos that relentlessly weave in and out on this number as well. Pairing this with KC Howard’s jazz approach mixed with insane blast beats and intricate syncopations, makes for the perfect song.
Bringing the album more variety in sound, there is the fun instrumental “Synchronicity”. Complex Neo-classical clean guitars speak back and forth throughout giving off a Jason Becker aura. When the distorted guitars and drums kick in, the frenzy continues with multiple solos and directions.
“Dissonant Theology” is the album closer and is the most unique and elaborate. The structure is intuitive with various rhythms and alluring twists and turns as the song accelerates. The guitar solos all hold incredible speed and compelling notes that resonate.
This album would have to get a solid 8 out of 10 from me. The only downside of it is the sound of the mix. They were going for an old school approach in the production which gives it a more live sound and not a cheating robotic note by note perfection like some bands do these days. All of that reasoning I understand and get. But the sound of the mix overall on Synesthesia makes it harder to hear the guitars and bass I feel like. Especially on the solos. Compared to Cryptic Implosion which had a more equal distribution in sound levels for all the instruments.
Even though production can be a factor to the overall enjoyment of listening to a record, the talent, song writing, and originality from them overrides the downsides described. Odious Mortem is one of the best tech-death bands out there and I hope they keep writing and tour again one day. Because the scene is not the same without them.
Author: Tom Sundgren