Odes Of Ecstasy

Embossed Dream In Four Acts

Odes Of Ecstasy - Embossed Dream In Four Acts ©1998 The End Records
1. Autumn's Grief (Prologos)
2. The Total Absence Of Light (Act I)
3. Faithless (Act II)
4. War Symphony (Act III)
5. Garden Of Temptation (Act IV)
6. Vampire Hunters (Epilogos)

You gotta give some credit to Greece for keeping with the spirit of metal throughout the years. This is the country that still falls over backwards for Rage so you know they have some credit due. Though I've heard very few acts out of that country to date, the ones I have heard, namely Rotting Christ and now Odes of Ecstasy, are quite intriguing indeed.

The first thing you'll notice when you pop this disc in (once you get past the piano intro, which is very pretty indeed), is that the band is obviously drinking from the same fountain of inspiration as Theatre of Tragedy. So yes, the comparison is there and we'll just get it out of the way from the outset. Both bands use a soprano female singer and death metal vocals. And both ride the doom carriage. What Odes does with their music is attempt to create a symphonic, operatic feel (hence the four parts to the piece). They tend to craft orchestrated classical arrangements over a mid-tempo doom metal base, while mixing the occasionally grating soprano vocals with the demon grunts. I particularly liked the way the gutteral expulsions were punctuated by a blast of orchestration in "The Total Abscence of Light" and "Faithless" is one of those songs that just sticks in your head. The final track, "Vampire Hunters", used samples of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula to a very militaristic soundscape that reminded me very much of Koda era In the Nursery. Overall, I do think the music would have been enhanced with better guitar production (it needs to fuller and stronger) and an occasional reeling in of the soprano vocals (I mostly dug the long instrumental sections), but considering this is the debut album, that's not much of a red flag.

Simply put, if you have even the slightest hankering for doom metal with classical influence, or can't get enough of what Theatre of Tragedy or Therion are doing these days, then you should check out this album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1998

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Deceitful Melody

Odes Of Ecstasy - Deceitful Melody ©2000 The End Records
1. Ignorance
2. Deceitful Melody
3. One With The Darkness
4. The Floating City Of Sun
5. The Conqueror Worm
6. Abstract Thoughts
7. Stigma
8. In Despair

With Theatre of Tragedy going a slightly skewed musical route with their latest, it's good that their vacancy has been properly filled by Greece's Odes of Ecstasy with their latest release, Deceitful Melody. Building upon, but not abandoning what they established on their debut record, Embossed Dream in Four Acts, Odes of Ecstasy has created a very favorable record that should please fans of the style. Deceitful Melody still retains the classically tinged flavor of their previous release but comes across a bit more matured and not deferring to older expectations. The songwriting throughout the album is quite solid and very memorable. Songs like "The Floating City of Sun" and "One With the Darkness" are complete with dramatic song structure and parts that'll suck your ear to your speaker like a leech taking to little boys swimming in a murky pond. The combination of the soprano female vocals and the growled male vocals is something that is seemingly overdone with many bands these days, but fortunately Odes of Ecstasy uses them tastefully and in a way that enhances the songs. Unlike other bands who have tried to either use their male vocalist inappropriately (cough, Theatre of Tragedy, cough), Odes of Ecstasy stick with what works and there is much wisdom in that.

While being far from revolutionary, there is still much to be said for bands who know what they do well and do simply that. Deceitful Melody is a very solid album for a band who seems to understand their role in the metal world. Those who are into the style of metal that was popularized by the oft mentioned Theatre of Tragedy should rush right out to find a copy of this record.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2000

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