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Homer’s Odyssey with an Instrumental Autograph - 94%

bayern, November 13th, 2017

This talented trio specialize in all-instrumental progressive metal which covers a wide gamut of influences the base on which the diverse soundscapes evolve changing from thrash to death metal, to fusion throughout. There aren’t too many lead-driven exploits on the guys’ works, the riffs have plenty of time to develop, and in this train of thought the band fit next to other riff-oriented recordings like the early works of the Shrapnel heroes Tony Fredianelli and Toby Knapp, the Canadiians Electro Quarterstaff, the Spaniards Continuo Renacer, and of course Canvas Solaris.

The album reviewed here is a really promising beginning covering a fair ground of nuances, “Iconoclast” shredding in a creepy minimalistic manner with meandering riff-patterns, the pace never going beyond the mid parametres, the guitars coming with a somewhat dry, mechanized flair. “Ashes Rain from the Sky” changes the course towards more aggressive ways of execution, a technical thrash masterpiece with puzzling, multi-layered configurations wrapped by a surreal, spacey aura. “Planetary Implosion” is a short nervy jumper, a nice display of jarring guitarisms packed within a short time-span. “Quietly Waiting” deserves its title as it’s built on serene tranquil etudes, a total contrast to the preceding nervy cut, but comes “Neural Impulse” and things escalate with a brutal deathy edge given to the guitars which twist and turn not very expectedly, the hectic cannonade carved by quiet balladic passages which give a nice atmospheric boost to the very busy shredding.

“Outlier” is progressive thrash at its most stomping best, a not very active composition which delivers on all counts due to the monolithic mid-tempo delivery which doesn’t get interrupted by any more adventurous decisions. “Ascendance” is the only piece where the leads dominate the guitar player making a really fine showing here, carving the progressive thrash fiesta, which is quite similar to the one of the previous number, with his stylish pyrotechnics. The final showdown “Redemption” is 12-min of musical mastery, technical/progressive thrash with numerous atmospheric touches, the rhythms changing every few seconds the guys jumping from slow, nearly doomy, sections to very fast proto-deathy ones in no time, unleashing some of the finest intricate rifforamas around in the process, the lead guitarist wrapping it on with a nice melodic pirouette.

A flawless recording in nearly every aspect the band gelling very well together as there’s nowhere any need in anyone to take the upper hand and pull out a show-offy presentation; the guys work very well as a team, and with the wide palette they have at their disposal it’s very unlikely that their ideas and arsenal will get depleted any time soon. The even better piece of news is that they have no intentions on changing their approach, but continue to excel with every subsequent effort, crossing several genres in different configurations, becoming marginally more spacey and more psychedelic on the last so far instalment “Voids”, the overall approach resembling later-period Canvas Solaris, but there’s no edge and verve lost whatsoever, the final result even more alluring and captivating.

There’s no shortage of all-instrumental formations on the scene at the moment, their number seems to grow exponentially every year, but those who focus on the riff, and not so much on the lead-dominated doodling/noodling/moodling are again not such a frequent phenomenon, and Odyssey by all means fill a need even more so presently as the other mentioned acts have either split-up, or only episodically make themselves heard with an isolated recording. The Odyssey saga is a long one, spanning several centuries, and even though Homer hasn’t been around for quite some time, he should rest in peace as there are other gifted artists who are willing to carry on with the saga, putting their signatures underneath his voluminous heritage with fascinating intricate instrumental characters.