Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: The Odious, Odyssey, Cortexiphan, Xanthochroid

The Odious, from Portland OR, take progressive and technical death metal down the jazz-inflected path that Cynic and Atheist hinted it would go in the mid-90's. Joint Ventures is a remarkable and accomplished album, filled with left turns and interesting digressions, in addition to stellar musicianship. I can't say I'm into the Layne Staley-ish clean vocals that start the album and appear periodically throughout, but everything else is ridiculously on point. This 11 track album (as well as their prior 5 song EP That Night a Forest Grew) is available from Bandcamp as a "name your price" download.

Spokane's Odyssey are similarly in the early Cynic/Atheist realm of progressive metal, with nods to new school kids like the Faceless and Animals as Leaders. The three-piece operate without a vocalist, and so the three songs on The Conscious Devise exist purely as instrumentals, with two of them running at over 10 minutes. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.

In a more brutal vein are Cortexiphan, a collaboration between Californian multi-instrumentalist Steven Rose and Malaysian vocalist Dixon Jong. The mix of gurgling vocals and melodic tech death makes me think that this is what Obscura jamming with Cattle Decapitation would sound like. The five songs on Anathema: The Murk. The Scorn. The Guilt. are solid and thoroughly enjoyable, lacking only a bit of individuality; the EP often sounds like it could be from any number of similarly fleet-fingered techheads. But considering Cortexiphan only formed in November of 2012, this is an impressive debut with room to grow. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.

And finally, veering away from technical death metal into technical black metal is Xanthochroid. Their debut full-length Blessed He With Boils may be the best Emperor album that Emperor never released. The production, musicianship and songwriting are all impressive; Ihsahn better watch his back. The full album is available as a digital download for $10 - heftier than the most Bandcamp downloads, but it's clear that these guys have put more work into their product than the average band. [Word is the members of Xanthochroid were also responsible for those killer surf rock versions of Immortal and Darkthrone songs that amused me so much back in May - if that's the case, these guys have talent to burn.]

Dreams of Consciousness was voted the best metal blog of 2012 by the editors of Dreams of Consciousness metal blog. See for yourself.