The Odious Construct – Shrine of the Obscene EP Review

Band: The Odious Construct
Album: Shrine of the Obscene (EP)
Label: The Artisan Era
Genre: Progressive/Technical Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: October 12, 2018

I consider myself to be a very lucky person to be writing for Metal Utopia. Four reviews in and I seem to only come across music ranging from very good to amazing from very talented musicians. This release is no different. California based metallers, The Odious Construct, deliver their second EP just over two years from their previous self-titled EP except this time as part of The Artisan Era roster. Speed and technicality abound as the band manages to create 20 minutes of relentless, pounding yet straightforward death metal.

Starting the EP with a string instrument arrangement, ‘Vortex of the Self’ delves right in with a fury that will be present throughout the whole EP. Pounding blast beats and fast riffing are accentuated by some of the best sounding vocals I’ve heard on a death metal album. The production is crisp and I can discern most lyrics if I listen closely to the vocals. This all leads to a furious solo where both guitars harmonize at certain points to add more of a melodic feel to the song.

The EP continues with ‘Descension’ and ‘They Came Through the Mirrors’. Not much of a change is made from the first song. Start of with a blisteringly fast riff, add more melody with you lead guitar as you go into the song, add some orchestral elements before going into the solo and bring it home. No new ground is being broken here, but why should it. The members of the band know how to use their respective talents to their fullest extent. Three songs in and not a dull moment so far.

‘Cyanide Eyes’ begins with more of the standard orchestration but manages to use it more effectively throughout to give the song a more sinister feeling. At this point the band is firing on all cylinders, not that they hadn’t before, but there is a noticeable change much like the last kick of a race. Some of the best riffs of the album can be heard in this song at about the halfway mark. This song also takes the time to grow and expand thematically in comparison to the others by giving the orchestral elements more of a chance to set up an atmosphere, this song uses them to the fullest extent.

Finally, up to the last song in the EP. I think the band members decided to leave this song for last as it is definitely the most aggressive and arguably the best song of the EP. ‘Shrine of the Obscene’ begins with vocal orchestration rather than string and it serves to give the song a sense of urgent finality, almost like the apocalypse is happening right around you. Slipping into a slow, long note solo, the band brings forth some of the best and catchiest music writing from this EP. As a whole, the song is one cohesive track but upon closer inspection, it seems like that is borne out of weirdly effective guitar riffing of Wesley Yee and Ben Jackson. The reason I say ‘weirdly effective’ is because it sounds like there are two melodies fighting for prevalence at about the 1:47 minute mark of the song which almost gives a feeling of whiplash but in a good way. The song continues its path of destruction with a more mellow and melodic guitar solo than previous songs before reprising the intro and finishing the EP with a bang.

This EP is relentless in the way it presents itself. From the second you hit the play button you are in for a wild ride. The music presented by this young band is outstanding and definitely worth listening. I couldn’t think of much in terms of faults for this EP and the bit that I have is me just being nitpicky. At least based on preference, I think the use of instrumentation such as the one presented here is very cliched when it comes to technical death metal albeit the band does manage to pull it off by not overusing it much and by infusing those elements into their own riffs. Another small nitpick is that, although the songs are very much distinguishable from each other and they do manage to grab your attention, the first 4 songs seem to be very standard in terms of flow with the only exception being the closer which manages to through in a few unexpected turns. I’m excited to see where this band goes from here. Another 15 minutes worth of music of this caliber and you got yourself a solid album worthy of praise and recognition. I only wish they take some risks going forward as I feel this band truly has what it takes to pull off something really special.

Rating: 8.5/10

Stand Out Tracks:
Vortex of Self
Shrine of the Obscene

1. Vortex of Self
2. Descension
3. They Came Through the Mirrors
4. Cyanide Eyes
5. Shrine of the Obscene

Total Playing Time: 19:35

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