Finland’s Oddland have had an interesting journey in their relatively young career. The band was formed in 2003 and in 2011, the band won Suomi Metal Star, a Finnish talent contest. The win landed them a record deal with Century Media. The band released their debut “The Treachery of Senses” in 2012. The legendary Dan Swanö produced it and I really loved it.
Unfortunately, Century Media did a lackluster job of promoting the album and I could never find it anywhere! So of course, the label dumps them and now, four years later, Oddland has returned with their second album “Origin” on Sensory Records. A lot can change in four years and while this is still very much the same Karnivool meets Tool sort of vibe, there are some differences.
One thing that I notice is that the hooks are not as strong on “Origin.” The band seems to be content to be more “odd.” When I say “odd,” I’m not saying complex but just strange. I like strange so that’s not an issue. But the pace of the songs tends to be slow which can get a little stagnant. Also, there’s somewhat of a breakdown element on songs “Thanatos” or “Penumba” which reminds me a bit too much of deathcore. Though, it’s close to a grinding djent sound too. It just sounds rather predictable.
Sakari Ojanen has a unique voice which was definitely a plus on “The Treachery of Senses.” On “Origin,” he seems to veer from a croon to a low, husky grumble. The problem is the melody lines are instantly grabbing me. After two listens, I really couldn’t quite recall anything in particular about the album. These leads me to believe Oddland could have used Dan Swanö to push them in that area.
All is not lost however. There are moments on the album that show the old fire. The intro to “Untrue” has some fireworks and it sets up what is one of the better tracks on the album. Songs like “Hidden” and “Skylines” prove that the band still understand the importance of dynamics. Each track have enough light and shade to be two of the better songs on the album, but once again it’s the same tempo as the other tracks..
I’ve been looking forward to Oddland’s follow up because I felt that their debut album deserved a lot more attention than it got. With four years behind them, Oddland are definitely more of a djent band with some Tool tendencies and they are really good at it. The problem I have with “Origin” is that while it brings new things to the Oddland sound, those things aren’t enough to overcome a lack of top notch songs. I do think that fans of bands like TesseracT and Monuments will find “Origin” to be an enjoy album listen. For me, this is a bit of a letdown.