Odious Mortem crawl back from long layoff, splatter minds with intense assault on ‘Synesthesia’

We try to celebrate and shine a light on many different styles of metal at this site, and I think it’s one of our strengths that you’re not bombarded with the same type of stuff over and over. That said, there are certain styles that don’t quite get us in the guts the way others do, and one of those is technical death metal. This is a tremendous lead in for the record we’re discussing today…

The Bay Area’s Odious Mortem have been making just that style of metal for more than two decades now, and yet despite what we said just a minute ago, their music always has worked just fine for us over here. Yeah, they’re techy for sure, but not at the expense of a heart and soul, as their stuff always sounds written by humans, played by humans. That continues on their great third album “Synesthesia,” their first in 13 years following 2007’s “Cryptic Implosion.” Comprised of three former members of Decrepit Birth, this band pounds you with expertly played stuff that is destructive and imaginative at the same time. The band—vocalist Anthony Trapani, guitarist Dave Eggers, guitarist/drummer KC Howard, bassist Joel Horner—sounds like they haven’t missed a second as they’re tight and ferocious on these 10 cuts that combine for about 38 minutes.

“Dormant Retribution” punches its way open as fierce growls strike while the riffs twist and snake toward its prey. The bass bubbles over as the playing goes into wrecking mode, ending in a smeary death assault. “Condemnation Foretold” lets the riffs go off to the races while the playing twists brains, and gruff growls skin knees. The track heads into a proggy cloud as things work into deep space, complete with sci-fi-led trails. Back on earth, the drums bash away, and the track ends in rubble. “Ruins of the Timeworn” is speedy as hell as growls splatter, and the pace shifts violently, bringing about a new savage pace. This track also sounds hellbent for the stars, with cosmic leads adding unexpected warmth. “Replenish the Earth” pulverizes from the start, eating through walls as the riffs soar. The band thrashes heavily while the vocals are spat out, and the track grinds into hell. “In Abominable Form” unveils contorting leads and monstrous vocals designed to maim. Everything blisters out of control as the music confounds and leaves minds a melting mess.

“Eagle’s Tower” opens with cleaner guitars flowing before the bass sparks an ignition, and the guitars trample all over the place. Growls rupture, and your thinking is pushed into overdrive before the soloing explodes, and the track ends in a blaze of hell. “Cave Dweller” is punchy and menacing as the riffs tangle each other up, and the playing sweeps and deals further damage. The playing builds in calculated manner while the tension splits, bringing everything to a death-defying halt. “Spirit Hole” totally blasts off from the start as the music charges hard, with the guitars travel at dangerous speeds to make their impact. Beastly growls leave bruising, while the fuel is touched off and leaves shrapnel sticking into chests. “Synchronicity” has a classical-style start, as the playing goes in loops, bringing you into a premature sense of ease. Then the hammer drops halfway through, and the beatings commence, twisting everything into a bleeding, painful mess. “Dissonant Theology” closes the book on the record and simmers in popping bass before destruction arrives. The playing is staggering in its violent power, serving growls engorged with blood, leads breaking time, and a dizzying finale that’ll make the room spin out of control.

Odious Mortem’s power and surgical precision remain and splatter all over “Synesthesia,” a very welcome return to the death metal battlefield. Hearing bands that are incredibly capable musicians but who don’t lose themselves while they’re dazzling you aren’t quite plentiful enough in the tech death field, but this band certainly hasn’t let that become a part of their translation. Their music is violent and mind-blowing, as it’s here to outright flatten your senses.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/odiousmortemofficial/

To buy the album, go here: http://willowtip.com/bands/details/odious-mortem.aspx

For more on the label, go here: http://willowtip.com/home.aspx

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