This demo came unexpected. And only for the simple reason that the Greek band Odes of Ecstasy, at least in my mind, was an established collective. With a couple of albums already out on The End Records, the latest being 2000 effort Deceitful Melody, it seemed that the band did not have anything to prove issuing demos. Too bad some of the countries still have mandatory military service (Greece is apparently one of them, just like Russia and Ukraine), and that societal apparatus usually does not give a crap about some young individuals being involved in music making. At least with this 5-track self-titled demo the Greeks can erase the “unknown” label from the status column on Metal Archives. The band is alive and kicking!
I do own Deceitful Melody, one of The End earliest releases, and enjoy it almost sentimentally. I always thought that labeling Deceitful Melody “death metal” was a stretch, as outside of intermittent male extreme vocals, there is little connecting that album with the genre’s peril. If anything, it was a progressive gothic album with operatic female vocals and numerous classical influences.
Well, the second reincarnation of the band in 2006 is not your older brother’s Odes of Ecstasy. Gone is the naiveté and youthful idealism, out the window went the gothic angle and female singer is no longer with the band. Heck, vocalist/guitarist Nikos Baltas is the only original member remaining. At least the “death metal” tag fits better now, the band definitely testing some of the modern melodic death metal waters.
I have to say that with this 5-song demo Odes of Ecstasy tried to lay a very broad palette of what they can be about. Some of their music has distinct Scandinavian death metal roots, and that part, although not Earth-shattering, the band delivers well. Rapping Darkness and fast drumming/riff dominated Hearteater, ornate with keyboards and multiple melodic moments, flow by fast and invoke comparisons with anything from Dark Tranquillity to Scar Symmetry. Nikos throws out a large variety of vocals, some of them layered one on top of the other, most of them growly, but also some clean tones and some screams as well.
The rest of the material on the demo ranges from symphonic/industrial death metal similar to The Project Hate (sans female vocals) to modern American pummeling brute bordering on hardcore. And the edge between the two is rather slim. Threatback can feature a synth melody one moment and pit inducing breakdown the other. George Pagidas bass tone will shake the chair you will be sitting on, the production token I appreciated, but some guitar leads are almost purposefully end up off key for further distortion (Threatback).
Odes of Ecstasy determination is to be lauded, they have not given up the dream. The band sounds more mature and more commercial these days, which is probably good for the label who will eventually sign them, but a little individuality is missing. Those heavy industrial death moments would have benefit from a female gentle touch. I applaud the band’s persistence and wish them all the best, but it would be very interesting which direction the band ultimately chooses. Odes of Ecstasy are a band at a crossroads.
Killing Songs :
Rapping Darkness, Hearteater, Fallen Messiah
|Alex quoted no quote|
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