ALBUM REVIEW: WOTHROSCH - ODIUM
A GRIM WALLOW IN THE ABYSS - BLACKENED DEATH METAL DEBUT FROM GREECE
Why peer sheepishly into the abyss when you can have full-on baptismal immersion. Wothrosch don’t open a portal into the horrific unknown for a tentative glimpse; they send cloaked, hooded figures to kick your head in and then throw you into it. In essence, Wothrosch don’t equivocate and if this debut record can be summed up in a word it is unforgiving.
Odium has a consuming weight and enormity. The sound is fortress-like, towering inscrutably into the black sulphuric heights but is also thrust downwards beneath the fathomless subsurface. A way marker might be a similarity to early Behemoth’s grimly disciplined processional death metal that is blackened beyond repair as the likes of Child and Tumour have that blasting staccato, semi-mechanized piledriving. The machine gun percussion is propulsive giving this an industrial engine to blocks of riffs that grind hideously while searing arpeggio and tremolo picks squall above them. Disease is a beast of a song as savage as it is unnerving in a purposeful, concrete-slab of seething death metal.
There are also patches of post-metalisms, but certainly not the bucolic existential, at-home-in-nature sort. No chance. Odium has decidedly twisted and blackened iterations of post-metal where Wothrosch use waves of dystopian reverb to create harrowing panoramic soundscapes. It’s evocative of a polluted, hellish apocalypse. It sounds like the River Styx was dammed up, drained and replaced by some form of colossal industrial processing unit and this playing out of the waiting room speakers. The slower, crawling tempos on the likes of Sinner or the bleak drudge of Purge have a malignance and dread but they can ramp up the gears too with the hateful blastbeat-fest of Mass. There is very little in the way of light, just an unquantifiable despairing vastness. Sprinkled samples of tortured screams, buzzing flies, distorted damned vocalisations augment the 'Abandon All Hope' vibe.
Odium is a brooding, sepulchral monolith of a record. It is crushingly heavy and unrelenting. Emotionally it is a spiritual night terror. Is it a bit much? Of course and intentionally so. Wothrosch are here to tell you torment is eternal. A corollary of that is, however, the run-time being slightly long given the the uncompromising style of the music which can not only flood the senses but annihilate them. A slight trimming of the album length would not have detracted from its engulfing impact. Yet here we have have an intriguing powerful debut with startling colossal and malignant intent. A deal with Hammerheart Records and a producer with a pedigree of working with distinguished underground acts confirms these Greeks are already rousing interest.
Listen to Wothrosch on Bandcamp: https://wothrosch.bandcamp.com/album/odium-2