May 242019


(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth [ex-The Number of the Blog] returns to our pages with this review of the new album by Odyssey from Spokane, Washington, which is being released today.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. A week ago I promised a full review of the new Odyssey album, The Swarm, and today I return to deliver on that promise.

Now, when you’ve been listening to a band or artist for the majority of their career, often you begin to foster a sense of casual ownership, that feeling of I Knew Them Back When, that helps to deepen your connection to them. You know their albums intimately, to the point that when you somehow manage to go an indeterminate stretch of time without listening to them, everything still feels comfortable and familiar. Continue reading »

May 172019


(How long has it been since Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, he of The Number of the Blog, graced our pages with his presence? I could look it up, but how depressing would that be? Better to simply welcome back our old friend, who provides this introduction to an excellent premiere.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It takes something special to break me out of me semi-retirement as it pertains to writing, and for the two or three of you who remember my older works, you might recall my love of Odyssey, the instrumental prog-metal trio from Spokane. Guitarist Jerrick Crites, bassist Jordan Hilker, and drummer Lukas Hilker have been going for over ten years now, despite remaining a mostly regional act, but one of the miracles of the internet is that even a smaller local band can reach a wide audience around the world.

I bring this up because, if the title of this article wasn’t already enough of an indicator, Odyssey have a new song, ‘Hive Mind’, to premiere from the forthcoming new album The Swarm. I have a full review of that coming in about a week, so I’ll save my thoughts on how ‘Hive Mind’ fits into the overall flow of the album, but I can still offer my perspective on the song itself. Continue reading »

Jan 292016



(Austin Weber wrote this review of the new album by Odyssey from Spokane, Washington.)

Beyond being perennial favorites of a few of us here at NCS, Odyssey have always stood out to me as an instrumental act operating on a different wavelength than most of the instrumental metal I listen to. And I say that as someone who listens to a lot more instrumental metal than most people. While I try not to inject too much personal commentary in reviews, I won’t have time to do as many reviews here in 2016 at times during the year, at least compared to my past output. So I figured, what the hey, let’s do a fun and in-depth one while I have a moment of time currently to do so!

As I mentioned in the write-up for the premiere of “Before There Were Eyes To See” here at NCS recently, Odyssey have mastered the art of writing instrumental metal that doesn’t forsake an aggressive bite and headbanging pulse. But beyond that, Odyssey has always had their own thing going on. And by that I mean that they existed and started developing their sound long before groups like Animals As Leaders, Chon, and countless other newer (by comparison) instrumental acts inspired a paradigm shift and explosive growth for various strains of instrumental metal. A lot of which I love to be sure.

And I think part of what makes Voids special is the sheer sonic diversity from song to song and moment to moment. Odyssey weave together a larger tapestry of influences and ideas than many of their peers. And the special touch they bring to their craft shows across all ten tracks on the album. Continue reading »

Jan 122016



(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a new song by Odyssey from Spokane, Washington.)

It’s no secret that people here at NCS have had a mega musical boner for Spokane, Washington-based instrumental prog trio Odyssey. Islander has covered every one of their releases since 2010 when they dropped their second release, Schematics. I’m right there with him as far as a love affair for Odyssey goes, and from the looks of their Facebook fans, I see our esteemed colleague TheMadIsraeli is a fan as well.

I believe I first heard about Odyssey back in 2011 when their full-length An Abstract Existence dropped and drew me in due to the press it received at the time. As the years since then have gone, Odyssey have kept up their penchant for quality, and quantity — this year’s release of Voids will be their third full-length, and sixth release overall since forming in 2007. Which is damn impressive in my book.

We’ve got a proggy barnburner of a tune from Voids called “Before There Were Eyes To See” to show you today. So hit play and keep reading. Or don’t keep reading — but at least jam this madness. Continue reading »

Oct 142014


Here’s a rather large selection of new songs and videos released in the last few days that I decided were worth your time — and who better than me to decide how you should spend your time?  Exactly.

I’ve arranged these offerings in alphabetical order by band name. It’s quite a varied selection, so I’m hoping everyone will find something to like.


We’re now two songs into the ramp-up for one of the most highly anticipated extreme metal releases of the year — Grand Morbid Funeral, the first album by Bloodbath since 2008. The second song, “Famine of God’s Word”, was revealed yesterday through a lyric video. I’m of two minds about the song.

On the one hand, the instrumental music is just downright vicious — a brutally heavy, galloping, squalling, skin-flaying, gut-punching romp, with an eerie lead guitar melody that floats through the song like a phantasm. Continue reading »

Sep 142012

Here’s Part 2 of the morning round-up of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth passing on. The first part is HERE.


I saw that Pathology have released their first digital single, “Tyrannical Decay”, from their forthcoming album The Time Of Great Purification, scheduled for release on September 25 by Victory Records. It’s available on iTunes and Amazon mp3. There’s a music video for the song that’s supposed to see daylight on September 17. You get two guesses about who did the artwork for the single.

As for “Tyrannical Decay”, it’s a brutalizing, pummelizing, meat-tenderizing, bludgeonizing, gutturalizing, demolitionizing slab of merciless death metal. If you’re into brutal death, check this out:

Pathology – “Tyrannical Decay”

[audio:|titles=Pathology – Tyrannical Decay]
Sep 092012

It’s Sunday morning here in the Great Pacific Northwest, and I’m moving at a glacial pace, having headbanged way past my bedtime at a KorpiklaaniMoonsorrowTyrMetsatöll show last night (about which there will be more later). My computer screen is kind of blurry, though I haven’t yet figured out whether that’s because I sneezed on it or my eyes are just filmed over. Still, I’ve been able to make out a few pieces of news that are worth sharing, though it’s possible the band names are all wrong.  Blurry.

My ears are still working reasonably well, though there’s a ringing noise in them. I haven’t figured out whether that’s an after-effect of last night’s show or the space aliens have altered their frequency to get past my foil helmet. Fuck space aliens. Before they fuck you. Anyway, I’ve heard some new music I like, and I’m sharing that, too, though when I mention the ringing noises that I hear in the music, you might want to take that with a grain of salt.


I’m gonna start with the music. The music comes from an Indiana band named Yellowtooth and their debut album Disgust, which will be released on Sept 11 by Orchestrated Misery Recordings. Yellowtooth is a trio of 40-somethings who’ve paid dues in other bands going back to the early ’90s, and Disgust reflects an amalgam of their interests. I’ve only just begun listening to the album, but it has really struck a chord in me, and I mean the chord that connects the reptile part of the brain stem and the gonads. That baby is now just twanging away something fierce.

The music is loaded with fat, sludgy, primal, throwback riffs, with a meat-grinding bass tone and well-executed solo’s. And although the music may be best classified in the stoner/doom category, the hoarse death-metal vocals (which I fuckin’ love) turn the songs into something else — something that wants to eat your liver and brain. The shit is really catchy and really foul, and I’m digging it mightily. There’s also an interesting ringing noise that’s like an ever-present atmosphere in the music. Continue reading »

Aug 192012

For better or worse, because of this blog, I spend almost all my listening time on new music, either hunting for new tunes or videos that I think would be worth your time or in preparation for scribbling a review. But not long ago I did something I rarely do any more: put my iPod on shuffle and listened to whatever the machine served up from the 22,000+ songs that are on there. I didn’t listen for long — just long enough to walk to work at the beginning of the day and walk back at the end.

That turned out to be fun, as well as a nice surprise, because the first five songs that Shuffle served up happened to be good. So, I wrote a post about that experience. And I decided to do it again two days ago. And now I’m starting to get a little creeped out. I’m beginning to think my iPod could pass a Turing test for artificial intelligence.

This time it once again served up three good songs in a row (and I stopped at three this time because, as you’ll see, the songs turned out to be long). But the songs also fit together like hands in gloves. All three were longer than average (two of them very long), and each of them was a different type of progressive metal. So here we go — music from Ikuinen Kaamos (Finland), We Were Gentlemen (U.S.), and Odyssey (U.S.).


I first came across this band at the end of 2010 when we were doing that impromptu Finland Tribute Week series (which turned into two weeks of nothing but Finnish metal). Andy Synn had recommended Ikuinen Kaamos to me (and he later named their Fall of Icons release to his list of 2010’s great albums). When I wrote the post that included Ikuinen Kaamos, I had only listened to one song from Fall of Icons — “Condemned” — but I subsequently listened to the rest of the album, too. Continue reading »

Oct 242011

The human voice is a powerful musical instrument. In fact, as an instrument for conveying emotion, it’s unmatched by any human-made device, because it’s the sound of . . . us. By definition, if you take it away from an ensemble of instruments, the music loses something irreplaceable.

This is true even in the case of extreme metal. In extreme music with harsh vocals, the capacity of a voice to express human emotion is constricted by comparison to music with clean vocals. Nuance and range are greatly reduced, and in most instances the emotion-triggering effect of the lyrics themselves is lost because the words are unintelligible. On the other hand, harsh vocals are very effective (more so than clean vocals) as instruments for expressing certain emotions — such as rage, frustration, and anguish — and for producing in the listener a sense of danger and dread. Take them away, and once again you lose something irreplaceable.

Orchestral music compensates for the lack of voices with an extensive array of human-made instruments, affording a lush palette of tones that can be combined in a multitude of ways. That may be one reason why many instrumental metal bands use synthesizers to reproduce the sonic variety and power of a symphony orchestra. But you take away the synths as well as the voices, and strip the instrumentation down to guitars, drums, and a bass, and you’re then placing considerable demands on the songwriting skill and performance chops of a band.

I suppose, for these reasons, I rarely find instrumental metal that jumps up and grabs my interest. But An Abstract Existence, the new album from a three-piece, no-vocals, no-synth band called Odyssey, has done that. I haven’t been this captivated by an instrumental album since 2009, when Animals As Leaders debuted and Scale the Summit released Carving Desert Canyons. Continue reading »

Sep 162010

A few years ago my day job took me to Spokane pretty regularly. It’s in far eastern Washington, near the Idaho border. Culturally and politically, it’s a world apart from Seattle. The town itself is not much to look at, but you drive 20 minutes in just about any direction, and you’re surrounded by physical beauty. I also liked every person I met there — every one.

There’s metal in and around Spokane. Every now and then a group of us will make the drive east to catch a tour that inexplicably hits Spokane but bypasses Seattle, and there’s usually a good turnout of headbangers. But for new bands, it’s probably not an ideal place to launch a career. Not that we really know what we’re talking about — it’s just a guess.

So our dog-like ears perked up when we saw a Facebook post from the always-interesting Jesse Zuretti (The Binary Code) recommending that his friends check out a 3-piece Spokane band called Odyssey. Not something we could resist, (a) because of the source of the recommendation, and (b) because of the band’s location.

Odyssey has just released a new 4-song EP called Schematics, which follows on the heels of their September ’09 hour-long debut album, Objects in Space. It’s the EP that we’ve now heard, and it’s very strong. No clean singing on that EP, or any other kind of singing. It’s an instrumental brain scrambler that’s completely engrossing. We’ll try to explain why . . . after the jump. Continue reading »