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Release Review: Odradek Room – Bardo. Relative Reality

Odradek Room is a young Ukrainian band has the means to conjure up everything that’s interesting and compelling about melodic death/doom and post-metal/post-rock and mash it up in a fulfilling and coherent mass of sound, as exemplified here in Bardo. Relative Reality, their debut album through Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records, who have a preference towards doom and ambient/atmospheric metal bands, so there’s no surprise that they included these talented Ukrainians into their rooster. It took me several spins to really get into the album, not because it’s too demanding or overtly complex, but because at almost one hour of duration it really contains a lot to digest, though most of it is easily enjoyable since the first listen. But the more times I’ve listened to it, the more I come to appreciate it.

Post-rockish, pensive, melancholic moments are intertwined with heavier, doomy sections, and this band shows great ability in swinging from one to another, creating a labyrinth of emotions and sensations. Guitars are the absolute highlight; they’re quite varied in techniques and delivery, showing this band’s dexterity and versatility, as well as their great compositional skills. Ilya Zernitsky and Artyom Krikhtenko might not produce the most amazing riffs ever, but everything they come up is worth listening to. There’re as many opportunities to head-bang as opportunities to just sit back and relax. As for Artyom’s vocals, they come second place as the better element in their musical output. Our first encounter with them is the bull frog-like bellowing and croaks in opener “Theatre of Forms”, not unlike Swallow the Sun’s Mikko Kotamäki growls. I was not impressed with those vocals, but afterwards Mr. Krikhtenko shows that he’s not a one trick pony, singing with a pleasant but somber, manly clean voice that he uses on most songs, whilst other times he employs voice-over narration, somewhat akin to Anders Fridén clear vocals, but free of In Flames’ frontman exaggerated, teen-appealing melodrama.

The rhythmic section formed by Sergey Kuznetsov on bass guitar and Roman Borovikov on drums is usually not blatantly prominent, most of the time contented to support the rest of the instruments, though it remains varied and compelling for the entire duration of the album, and they even show some serious chops on a few occasions. Even blast-beats are used from time to time, though the changes in tempo and mood are not made abruptly, rather tastefully I’d say, so you could call this progressive to a degree, but not technical nor showy. Another thing to notice is their excellent use of keyboards and samples, whose limited but expertly placed intervention greatly enhances the poignancy and mystique of this indisputably guitar-oriented album. Sometimes they appear as calm piano, like in the colossal and outstanding third track “A Painting (Digging into the Canvas with Oil)”, whilst other times they provide stranger, industrial sounds or as background synth textures. The production work is superb; you can clearly discern each and every instrument and minor sound.

As for highlights, for me those are the longest tunes here, twelve-minute “A Painting (Digging into the Canvas with Oil)”, and the just under ten-minute “Faded Reality”. Not that the rest of the songs are not as good, but I think on that pair of behemoths you can fully grasp all the fortes and variation Odradek Room is capable of creating. The first riffs of “Faded Reality” are almost thrash-like, probably the best on the whole record. But there’re no fillers here, no weak songs or pointless interludes. I found the second track, “Inflorescence of Silence” marginally more mundane than its peers, but it’s not a bad song by any means. “River”, the sixth track, is also worth mentioning, as a dreamy ballad that’ll make your mind wander free and ponder in the mysteries of existence… and shit like that. Clearly this band offers a lot with their debut, a serious contender for 2013 debuts of the year by my account. Fans of outfits such as post-metal gods Neurosis, or the now defunct Isis, as well as classic Opeth, Katatonia, October Tide, or the more recent In Mourning or Barren Earth might want to check this one out.

Odradek Room Album Cover - new

Tracklisting:
1. Theatre of Forms
2. Inflorescence of Silence
3. A Painting (Digging into the canvas with oil)
4. Suffocation
5. Faded Reality
6. River
7. Cold Light

Odradek Room are:
Ilya Zernitsky – Guitars
Sergey Kuznetsov – Bass, Keyboards
Roman Borovikov – Drums
Atryom Krikhtenko – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Sampling

Odradek Room Promo 4

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About Ricardo (18 Articles)
100% Mexican metalhead, classic prog lover, international cuisine fearless explorer, avid traveler and virtuosic air-drummer who’s aim is to make a living out of professional illustration from his den in Guadalajara city. A fan of many artists, let’s just say that some of his very favorites in music and beyond include Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, Agalloch, Amon Amarth, Depeche Mode, Alphonse Mucha, Gustave Doré, H.R. Giger, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, Guillermo del Toro, Quentin Tarantino, Studio Ghibli amongst zillion others. Loves to meet people from around the world, and to discover METAL from around the world as well. Not that he loves it all, but a good majority. What he searches in music (and art in general) is passion, honesty and emotion above everything else. While he sets up a new illustration site or blog this 2013, you can visit his DeviantArt gallery (http://xyrth.deviantart.com/) with old illustrations, drawings and paintings.

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