Finnish progressive metallers Oddland have released their second album, which at first might sound like a djent record. In fact, it’s pretty hard to hear album opener “Esotericism” and not think heavily of Meshuggah. As a matter of fact, I thought I was going to get yet another Meshuggah offshoot until frontman and lead guitarist Sakari Ojanen opened his mouth. Yes, it was that memorable folks – literally that fucking memorable. You see, when Ojanen began to belt out not a harsh growl or vocal rasp, but a voice so pleasantly angelic that I wouldn’t mind if the lyrics had been numbers from his address book or jotted down notes in his memo pad (seriously, if you can sing like that, even your grocery list would come off mesmerizing) that’s the point where I threw all of my misconceptions about this strange new act into the local trash bin. You see, this is my first round with the act despite the fact that they’re well known in Finland for having won the Suomi Metal Star competition in ‘11 as well as having been given an contract with Century Media Records, by which they recorded their debut album The Treachery Of Senses just a year after. It’s worth hunting down, as some say it was the best progressive metal album ever recorded in Finland.
With an approach like this however, I can certainly agree. You see, I hate djent. I always have. I loved when Meshuggah first brought nine-string guitars into the mix as that was something unique. Though I despised when it became it’s own genre and many futuristic/industrial bands started pigeon-holing it to their style just because “it sounded robotic.” Some bands succeeded with that, but most came off quite generic. Here I was expecting a djent record,when in fact I received so much more. While there is still a fair bit of the unholy djent, we’re also getting a healthy dose of keyboards, tinges of technicality and yes – good old fashioned prog. Oddland are a band that clearly know what kind of music they want to make and whether they are referencing Tool, Meshuggah, Kamelot, Katatonia or King Crimson, they manage to deliver an approach that brings me a slightly melancholy, yet rather exhilarating feeling. This record is literally all about atmosphere and they seem to capture that quite well with nearly every song. My personal favorite cut on the record is “Unknown” due to it’s fantastic chorus line, but I’m quite sure that you’ll find several here that appeal to you. There’s literally nothing on the album that feels like a bad moment or a simple cast-off.
Origin is the kind of record that feels like such a wave of icy-cool freshness, (no, I’m not advertising mouthwash here) that you can listen to it from beginning to end without even considering the skip button. Without ogling the band too much more, I can just say that those looking for a deeper Tool or a proggier Katatonia will find themselves absolutely elated by such a wondrous album. Having known nothing about this band prior to hearing this record and then deciding to review them in the highest manner that I can possibly offer such an act, is something that I’ll have to put down in my record book. Quite simply, there’s nothing out there quite like Oddland even among the rest of the djent or progressive scenes. They’re one of a kind and you need to get your hands on this one of a kind experience right now. Run, don’t walk! Get on a plane to Finland. Travel by boat or swim if you must – but Oddland’s Origin will go down as one of my top favorite releases of the year, without question. You must have it!