Spain’s Odyssey has traveled a tumultuous road throughout its 20-year existence. Originating as one of the first progressive metal bands from that region, Odyssey released its debut IN TIME AND SPACE in 1990 to an audience that wasn’t quite ready for it, and the album fell by the wayside. Good intentions being what they are, the band prepared to write and record a follow up album, but persistent lineup problems would halt Odyssey’s momentum. Fast forward a couple of decades later, and sole remaining original member Andrés Cagigas has put together a new Odyssey lineup and has finally released the band’s sophomore album, RESURRECTION. A concept album detailing a sort of out of body/life after death journey, RESURRECTION is not without its flaws, but overall is a worthy follow up effort.
Odyssey merges traditional metal stylings with progressive rock elements, sounding less like Dream Theater and more like an edgier, Euro-version of early Queensryche. RESURRECTION’s 11 songs incorporate a lot of different textures and musical approaches, a tactic which keeps things interesting and helps to emphasize the various pieces of the story. The opening, “Darkness” is a pretty straight ahead metal tune, while the upbeat “Eyes of the Universe” follows in the fashion of a fist pumping, rock anthem. “The Global” has a menacing vibe to it, while “Soulstealer” has some funkier, System of a Down type moments. And then there are the mandatory extra-long conclusion epics at the end of the album that are what you’d expect from any progressive band worth their mettle.
The band keeps their performances relatively bare bones – vox, guitars, bass and drums, which is refreshing in an age where there tends to be such a reliance on synth work and orchestration these days. Vocalist Iván Valle doesn’t pretend to have the range of a Geoff Tate, but he optimizes his smooth, mid-range voice effectively, which gives RESURRECTION an edgier tone. The rest of the band plays their parts appropriately, never really hamming it up unless the songs dictate them to do so, which also helps make the album feel less frilly – which is fine by me. The production work leaves a little to be desired, but Odyssey uses the resources at their disposal to fill in as they can with what they’ve got. In a perfect world, the album would have benefited from a pro-budget to fatten up some of the tunes and add some extra layers to the sound.
My only beef with RESURRECTION is that the album is reeeally long – an hour and 16 minutes long. Some of the songs unnecessarily tend to outstay their welcome and you may find yourself amazed to realize that you’re still listening to the same song you were five minutes ago. The band packs plenty of twists and turns within the context of each song, but the album would have benefited from some trimming of the fat, condensing some riffs or breaking some ideas into songs of their own. But all things being equal, Odyssey has delivered an enjoyable album on a DIY budget with an interesting premise. There’s definitely some room for improvement, but RESURRECTION is no slouch of album. Hopefully it won’t be another 20 years for album #3. Odyssey is available for purchase through the band’s website and CD baby.
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