We Are Gods
Power and thrash metal have historically enjoyed a reasonable amount of overlap in the music of some artists. I have learned that it is a mixture of two styles that appeal to me in very different ways and to different extents (power metal obviously being far more dominant, as far as my tastes are concerned). Lyrically and vocally, Canada's Odinfist fly the flag of their thrash ancestors proudly, while injecting some of the speed and melodicism that are power trademarks.
In addition to combining metal genres, Odinfist have a strange amalgamation of vocal styles and timbres, as well as an occasional mish-mosh of melodies, situated in places where they don't quite seem to sit comfortably within the song that they're placed. This is perhaps most noticeable in the opener "Skull Collection", where the chorus has a strange mystical, dreamy quality. All the while, harsh vocals sounding like impish gurgles are present in the background. It's such a strange juxtaposition of concepts that I can't really call it good or bad.
The band, of course, isn't taking themselves particularly seriously, which is a good thing because I think they might fall on their faces if they attempted it. The bounding irreverence combined with the sometimes melodic, sometimes tearing clean vocals makes for an unusual ride (at least to these ears). Tyler Anderson's vocal delivery, while definitely different from what I'm used to, is very genuine and emotional, even if that means that it comes off as chaotic and slightly debased. He's obviously having fun, and with the rest of the band behind him, leading them all steadfastly in their necrotic advance (there's a lot of emphasis on death here, lyrically).
Despite how I'm describing the album, there's not an overpowering sense of heaviness, and once again I don't know that this particular hurts the band or improves their chances. The guitars have a couple opportunities to swing good lines, but also sometimes fall in a fairly regular rhythmic chug that I have a hard time getting into. Solos aren't bad, but they are wedged into odd spaces and occupy strange tonal territory. Part of the reason for all of this is the mix, and while the guitars definitely suffer in power, I can at least hear a good bit of the bass.
In the end, I can't bring myself to form a strong opinion on this either way. It's largely fun and unoffensive, if a bit morbid, but it also doesn't grab my attention and hold it. This thrashier, slower style of heavy metal with rough vocals isn't my sort of thing, however I don't think that fans more attuned to this style of metal would find it in bad standing, as it has kind of a classy old-school sound to it that some might really get into. Other will make a stronger judgment call on this than I. While capable and unconventional, it's a bit too strange and lacking strong hooks for me.
- - -
The Protagonist's Rating: 2.5 out of 5