The new single by Mithras that we’re helping premiere today, “Odyssey’s End“, is like no other song I’ve heard this year. Given the many hundreds I’ve heard so far across a broad range of metal genres, that’s saying something. And so although I’m going to share a lot of information about the new Mithras album in this post, I have to start by expressing more elaborately my enthusiasm for this track.
Of course, I wouldn’t blame you for jumping straight to the music at any point, but you shouldn’t be reading (or do anything else) while you experience the music. Give it your full attention, and then prepare to loop right back to the beginning of it when you finish. This track requires way more than a single listen to take in all that it has to offer.
The song’s introductory passage is sublime, with Leon Macey’s guitar slowly teasing out a melody that’s as unearthly and gorgeous as vistas of glowing nebulae captured by the Hubble space telescope. But when Mithras shift into the bridge to the main body of the song, the music becomes as heavy as that opening passage is ethereal and evanescent. The contrast is clobbering.
And then the urgency and intensity of the song increase by an order of magnitude with bursts of militaristic drums and aggressive riffing. The vocals of Rayner Coss are as striking as the music they accompany. Wild and varied, they include vicious growls, oratorical yells, blackened shrieks, and much else, with effects and layering applied to the sound that increases their kaleidoscopic variation even further.
While the driving riffs and percussive rhythms provide a gripping drive-train, Macey turns in a pair of solos that are mind-bending — and they provide vivid examples of how much attention has been devoted to every detail of the song (just paying attention to how the guitar tone changes over the course of the song is an adventure in itself).
“Odyssey’s End” is a an immaculate blend of savagery and brain-twisting inventiveness that also carries the mind’s eye into the cosmos, as if the listener has been launched into a wormhole with distant galaxies as the destination. It’s a form of multifaceted progressive death metal that’s so distinctive it probably needs its own sub-genre classification. And on top of everything else, it’s a damned memorable song, too.
Well, those are a few of my own thoughts about the song. Here’s what Leon Macey tells us about it:
“‘Odyssey’s End’ is a bit of a nod to the style we had back in the late ’90s when the band was named Imperator, and as such is slower tempo-wise than most of the new record. The track has a lot of groove compared to the other tracks we’ve premiered so far, but is still crushingly heavy. We’ll likely be playing this one on our upcoming UK tour in late October so come and check us out!”
The new Mithras album, which is their first in roughly ten years, is fittingly named On Strange Loops. Thematically, it seems to draw inspiration from Macey’s own in-progress work toward a Master’s Degree in Astrophysics and touches on a range of associated philosophical subjects. Clues are available from the track list:
1. Why Do We Live?
2. When The Stars Align
3. The Statue On The Island
4. Part The Ways
5. Odyssey’s End
6. Howling Of The Distant Spaces
7. Between Scylla And Charybdis
8. Time Never Lasts
9. The Last Redoubt
10. Inside The Godmind
11. The Outer Dark
12. On Strange Loops
Further insights are available from the album’s cover art, a painting named “Topological Research Of The Black Square” by Russian surrealist artist Sergey Laisk. And here I’ll share Macey’s comments about the cover:
“We had a very painful search for cover artwork for the new album over a period of many months, being let down by prospective artists here and there and generally getting frustrated, so when we stumbled on Sergey’s artwork in an obscure online gallery we knew instantly that it was without doubt the perfect artwork for the album, given that it visually encapsulates the concept perfectly. It was a great relief that Sergey gave us permission to use it or we’d probably have had to resort to doing our own version of his artwork in crayons or ms paint!”
Those who have followed the tortured path of Mithras toward the completion of On Strange Loops may already know that the band’s co-founder Rayner Coss (who performed bass as well as providing vocals on the album) has left the band, as he has before. This time his departure occurred just a month before the album was due to be finished. Unless another change of heart happens in the future, this represents his last Mithras release. Yet in addition to completing work on the album, Leon Macey (who performed guitars, drums, and synths on the album, and mixed and mastered it) has recruited a live line-up that will enable Mithras to perform despite Coss’ departure.
The release date for On Strange Loops is October 21. It will be issued in digital, CD, and vinyl editions by Willowtip Records (North America and Mexico) and Galactic Records (UK/EU/rest of the world). The video for the song we’re premiering furnishes a mouth-watering look at the vinyl versions of the album, as well as other enticing merchandise. To buy the album, go to one of these locations:
To catch Mithras on tour in the UK, check the schedule after the music below.
And now, finally, here’s “Odyssey’s End” (as well as the previous single from the album, “Between Scylla and Charybdis”).
MITHRAS ON FACEBOOK: