That Night A Forest Grew
03. Contemplating Utopia
04. Last Night A Forest Grew (Part One)
05. Last Night A Forest Grew (Part Two)
Sometimes you come across some music that is so weird and intriguing that you can’t listen to something else for days. It slowly lays its roots down in you, and one day you wake up to see it has become a forest inside you. Yes, this is a bad allusion to the EP’s name, but it’s also very true. The Odious are an unsigned progressive death metal band from Portland. I’ve heard them described as “The Faceless with waaay more acid”, which is quite true. But there’s also elements of Between The Buried And Me and The Contortionist in there. Are you salivating already? Well, let me explain better, for those who can’t picture it. There are slow and mellow jazzy clean passages, technical spazz-outs, off-time beats aplenty, ragtime beats, stoner/sludge sections and other experimental bits. And it’s all done very elegantly. Of course, it’s a concept album, but you should have been able to tell that from the fact that I’m reviewing it.
The album opens with Entmoot, a clean intro track that sets the mood. The elements and riffs in this song are explored and expanded upon further in the subsequent tracks, so it forms a good baseline. You can also hear the stoner-influenced clean vocals and some of the experimental elements in this track. It feels mellow yet ominous, and serves as a introduction to the weird landscape that you’re about to experience.
Threads starts off as more of a The Faceless and Contortionist vibed song, with fast riffs followed by slow, heavy chords. It’s a perfect balance between two styles that are quite similar yet different enough for them to be hard to blend, but The Odious manage it well. The vocals are a raspy scream that isn’t the best out there but it goes well with the music, which soon devolves into BTBAM territory with odd time signatures and a long clean section that features quite a bit of odd elements. Then the band go back to their low riffs augmented by some leads. It’s a formula that works so well that it makes one wonder why no one thought of it before. Yes, all the elements they use have been done by other bands, but no one has combined them with such finesse while remaining original and centered around a theme.
Contemplating Utopia also follows the previous formula, but with less experimentation and more focus on riffs and structure. Another thing that stands out about this album is the very organic production that fits the sound and theme of the album. The clean vocals on this song sound like they wouldn’t really go well with anything, but they work here, which is an impressive feat. The entire song is centered around a single melodic theme, but they expand it with rhythmic varieties that make the song work well. The long “breakdown” at the end is also quite catchy, and here we also hear that the band has some keyboard elements.
Last Night a Forest Grew (Part One), which can be considered the title track, starts with a section that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dream Theater or Opeth album, which goes to show the degree of The Odious’s finesse. THe rest of the song focuses almost entirely on expanding this riff until it becomes an entirely different beast, which is all in preparation for the grand finale…
Last Night a Forest Grew (Part Two) is where you should really pay attention. Starting with a really cool and techy riff, it transitions quickly into an excellent clean, surf rock-esque section (yes, this is the ultimate stoner album). Then you get to hear the progressive death metal version of the riff. This track takes all the elements from the previous ones and brings them together in an insane mix bag. The first two minutes are an incredible buildup, after which the song shifts to full gear. By full gear, don’t think I mean fast shredding. Instead we have some really weird rhythm-oriented riffs. Of course, they change the pace soon enough, mellowing down to some wah-augmented version of the same surf section. Did I mention that this song is nine and a half minutes? And it’s incredibly stonery, with slow, repeating sections slowly getting augmented with more and more elements. Yes, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person that enjoys stuff like this, your mind will be blown. The buildup goes through a quite original pickslide-based riff, and then it starts to regress and return to the title track and slowly fades away, but it doesn’t stop adding new elements until the very end. It’s something that you have to experience as a whole.
Which is the whole deal of the album, frankly. You have to listen to it as one piece to appreciate it. It’s a very slow buildup that slowly grows more and more insane. If you enjoy technical and experimental bands but can take them with less shredding and a lot more LSD, this is definitely for you. Even if you don’t you should still check out this, because it’s a weird masterpiece. Since the band are unsigned, the album is available on their bandcamp page. The least you could do is give it a spin. But be careful, lest you get trapped like me, unable to listen to anything else for a week.
The Odious – That Night A Forest Grew gets…