Posted by Nick Skog on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Under: Album Reviews
Published: May 21, 2013
Published: May 21, 2013
I spoke at some length with Artem* Krikhtenko, band leader for Ukrainians Odradek Room, in an interview here, just prior to the re-release of this originally self-produced 2012 debut. It has been remastered and enhanced for issue through Hypnotic Dirge, supplied in a tidy and informative digipack with full English translation alongside the original Cyrillic script.
There's a lot of background to the album contained in the interview: in summary, though, it's a presentation of the protagonist's confrontation with his projected self and ultimate failure to recognise it as his own construct. Fittingly, for a such an underlying intellectual premise, it is explored through a complex synthesis of melodic Death/Doom and Post-Rock influences, embellished with samples and spoken pieces. Composition is tight and precise throughout, but full of musical depth, reflecting the best aspects of a solo-project-style focus in the songwriting process while adding the creative bonus of a full band to perform it. Compared to the original recording, the remix, and complete reworking of the drums, have brought a much cleaner and more vibrant texture to the sound, which is extremely clear and polished.
Despite the occasional presence of keyboards, it's the guitars which cover pretty much all the main instrumental work, roaming from echoing, spacy leads to driving riffs to distortion-soaked backgrounds almost at will. It's a restless, continually shifting tapestry, effortlessly interleaving the work of both musicians, that slides through changes in pace, rhythm and melody with an unforced ease. There's nothing random about it, though: the progressive, evolutionary nature of each track purposefully directs the mood and atmosphere of the music in a way that maintains it at an emotional, rather than purely technical, level.
Supporting the exemplary guitarwork is more than competent percussion, particularly in the aforementioned re-recorded drumming, which is surprisingly active and varied - should you spend any time concentrating on it - enhancing and supporting the melodic thrust without ever becoming intrusive. Carried on all of this are the vocals, covering an equally broad range that takes in growls, deeper or softer clean singing and spoken-word parts. Eschewing English and sticking to, presumably, Ukrainian throughout allows familiar flow and timbre to convey an effective range of emotions in a comfortably natural way.
From the opening theatrical sample and ominously-building riffs of 'Theatre Of Forms' to the sadly-fading progression closing off 'Cold Light', there's plenty of breadth of vision to be found here, mixing up the various elements and influences with a distinct and intelligent energy. Highlight of the album must be the longest track, 'A Painting (Digging Into The Canvas With Oil)', as it runs through samples, speech, heavy riffing and psychedelic dissonance along the way to a galloping finale. For comparison - well, this sounds to me along the lines of the more interesting of the newer, slightly experimental cross-genre bands: triangulating somewhere between the guitar-led Post-Rock feel of Ortega, the multifaceted influences of (EchO) and the moody explorations of Ixion, but keeping an identity of its own. Simply as an album, 'Bardo. Relative Reality' stands as an impressive piece of work: considering that it's a debut only adds to the feeling of great promise for the band. Buy this, and keep an ear out for where Odradek Room go next.
* NB: Although credited as Artyom Krikhtenko on the album, that's how he introduced himself to us!
In : Album Reviews
Tags: doom metal odradek room bardo relative reality death metal post-rock psychedelic progressive