originally written by Jim Brandon
While recently many popular mid/upper tier forerunners of the death metal scene are putting out killer albums in 2007, the early buzz band has been Santa Cruz, California five-piece kill team, Odious Mortem. When it comes to high velocity technical death metal, some of us argue it’s difficult to follow and sounds soulless, which is exactly what others find quite appealing. Cryptic Implosion is one of the busiest, most complex sophomore examples of the genre to be found lately, but the songwriting doesn’t suffer from disorganized, hollow parts-on-top-of-parts piecemeal structure that plagues so many other albums of this nature.
That’s not to say I find this to be especially astounding from a songwriting standpoint, but the musicianship is absolutely superb, and as a whole, this disc is ruthlessly aggressive. Upon the first few spins, I felt a very strong Doug Cerrito-era Hate Eternal vibe with tracks like “Fragmented Oblivion”, and “Conjoint Species”, but with much stronger dynamic elements added along with a tendency to indulge in many colorful and tasteful leads. Unlike Hate Eternal, Odious Mortem do not blast along at one speed with only the barest of segues to break things up, but they also don’t stack notes on top of notes in seemingly freeform clusters of jumbled nonsense with no rhyme or reason like a few other tech-death bands (although usually it’s deathcore bands who are more often guilty of this). Everything falls into place quite nicely, making this relatively brief CD a quick, compact listen.
I do have to say that while Cryptic Implosion is one of those albums you might find extremely impressive from a technical standpoint right off the bat, almost genre-defining the first three or four times you listen to it, once familiarity is established, this feeling quickly fades. Also, the tracks have a tendency to end jarringly and leave almost no time to take a breath before the next song comes ripping through, which hurts in establishing a separate identity for each tune. Even though the music is very cohesive and is cleverly arranged, there are a bunch of really wicked riffs used beneath solos that are abandoned entirely too quickly (“Gestation Of Worms”), and new vocalist Anthony Trapani doesn’t have a lot of interesting variation in his delivery to speak of. The production is decent and doesn’t sound too overly tweaked, especially with the great drum sound, but even that could have been brought up just a notch or two in the clarity department overall without sacrificing any natural depth.
Even though I might sound harsh, Cryptic Implosion is still an awesome album. Despite his fairly one-dimensional style, Trapani has an optimum death metal voice, guttural without getting belchy, and sometimes his roaring is pretty easy to decipher. The progressive aspects of “Domain Of The Eternal Paradox” really does add a lot of varied texture to help keep things fresh, and freeing Dan Eggers to concentrate totally on playing guitar has allowed the music to expand and take on a fully fleshed-out sound when everything comes together on the smoldering closer “Collapse Of Recreation”, which features an excellent guest solo from Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink).
There’s stellar potential to be heard with Odious Mortem, still a young band who will be even more dominant once a firmer, more pronounced individuality is displayed in their music. From a fan point of view, there’s nothing really wrong with Cryptic Implosion, and it’s fantastic to throw on and thunderously annihilate the walls in the background. I just think there’s more than meets the ear to this band that may be revealed in time, but for now this nasty exercise in technical sonic dismemberment does the job just fine for what it is. I’m looking forward to hearing what these guys do next, as is most of our current writing staff, and if you love tech-death and aren’t at least somewhat impressed with this album in some way, I’d say to just sell your current metal collection and give it up for good, spending the rest of your days on YouTube watching Mariah Carey’s Highest Notes compilations, and munching on dried prunes.