Odd Logic | Effigy | Album Review February 2017
Odd Logic | Effigy
Label : Offseason Records
Release Year : 2017
Country : USA
Genre : Progressive Metal
Sean Thompson – Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards
Mike Lee – Bass
Pete Hanson – Drums
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– Writer’s Note –
To say I was 100% familiar with Odd Logic would be false. I have heard much about them throughout the years by word of mouth from other friends. To prepare for this review I had to go back a listen to their previous material. You can say it was a true crash course. The following review will be written as if I have stumbled upon a new band.
Three man bands are no stranger to the community of progressive rock/metal. Many in fact are some of the most influential throughout the history of progressive rock. RUSH, ELP (Emerson,Lake & Palmer), Italian prog rockers Latte e Miele and at some points King Crimson, and Neu of ‘Krautrock’ or German Progressive Rock all to name a few. These three man bands or ‘trios’ would have maximum distribution in sound considering their numbers. Trio’s a lot of the time have to use one man to compensate for the appearance of two maybe three. This means it truly requires talent of both the craft of musicianship and the trade of performance to take it to a audience. This is very evident in the USA based band Odd Logic.
Odd Logic are the brainchild of Tacoma, Washington resident Sean Thompson. After leaving his original band MINE in 2002, he sought out to build a much more ‘progressive’ sounding band. This was even if he had to call in his ‘guest’ percussionist and bassist alter ego’s. Soon after later releases including Legends Of Monta: Part I – 2006, Legends Of Monta: Part II – 2009, Odd Logic would become a complete band with Pete Hanson – Drums and Mike Lee – Bass. Now as we enter into 2017 the band has returned with a greatly and highly improved project in Effigy.
Just as early progressive metal pioneers of the Pacific Northwest of Seattle Washington in Queensryche released the very pivotal Operation Mindcrime almost 30 years prior. So too Odd Logic now have ‘that-pivotal’ recording in their library with Effigy. Odd Logic’s Effigy has a grand spectrum of many dimensions that fall into the progressive rock and metal banner. Effigy has classic progressive hard rock influences such as Kansas, neo progressive influences of Marillion and Enchant to progressive metal influences such as King’s X Dream Theater, Symphony X, Opeth.
The further into Effigy the listener gets the more all the above mentioned influences begin to really stand out with great clarity. Odd Logic is also one of those bands that do a great job wearing their influences on their sleeve without it appearing they are trying to mock or imitate their influences which sometime’s happens in the progressive rock/metal world. Now let’s go into Odd Logic’s Effigy with some highlights of the well balanced musicianship that lies within each and every track.
Effigy the title track and the epic of the album, opens up very much in the vein of Fish era Marillion meets Wounded to Juggling 9 Dropping 10 era Enchant using quality neo progressive elements and time signatures. For the first 5 to 7 and a half minutes of the 17:29 the band executes in and out time chord progressions matched by very intricate time signatures to give the track various dimensions as to keep the listener’s long term attentions spans. Parts of Effigy even show shades of Sieges Even and Subsignal. The band gives the appearance of many shorter tracks within this epic. The listener has absolutely no time to get board. The band are always changing things up.
At the 8:30 mark of Effigy a wonderful and classic Hammond Organ comes into play to carry the track further into the bands objective for this track. The guitar solo’s have this big ethereal sound to blend into the various dimensions of the synths. The various sum of the parts of the instruments fulfill the purpose both in isolation and harmony. The various time signatures give different pictures on the tapestry and the theater of the mind of the listener. Effigy is certainly non stop time signatures and non stop chord progression change up’s on all levels of the audio senses.
Master Of The Moor starts off with a thunderous passage heavily based in the bass/drum rhythm section. The track gets progressively heavier and heavier going forward. There is a very fluid yet wicked underlying Hammond Organ section giving this track some heavy soundscapes and darker dimensions. The guitar has some serious rhythm based distortion while keeping in step with the intended purpose of the composition structure. The double blast beats also add much depth in Master Of The Moor. About the 4:15 mark the band uses a very abstract yet very easy vibe on the vocal harmony.
Mercenary explodes in the intro with a very Opeth Deliverance to Ghost Reveries era style passage. The band make excellent usage of the death growls in harmony with the instrumental portions. The death vocals interchange with various clean vocals on various different vocal scales. The track breaks and goes back into a cleaner vocal oriented track utilizing various vocal harmonies with both lead and background vocals trading off.
The Yearning the shortest track on the album still packs the same progressive punch as any other song on Effigy. This one opens up with a beautiful acoustical passage that is soon joined in harmony with the lead vocal. The vocal isolation allows for the vocal to tell a story. Soon backing vocals come in and it lowers the discriminatory defenses the listener may have. If there is a ballad on the album The Yearning is definitely it.
Witch Runner opens up with a more straight away conventional progressive hard rock intro. The neo progressive element in the intro continues to show the bands depth and progress. As I listen to this song in particular much more, I start to see the band forming their own sound off the many influences within the progressive rock/metal communities. Sean Thompson has a very strong Ted Leonard of Enchant vocal style working. The song takes on a much more melodic progressive metal approach at the 3:15 mark. The Opeth style death growls return on this track and on the instrumental portion of the song it takes a very blistering narrative. The band keeps its core objective in multiple time signatures and chord progressions on Witch Runner.
Iron Skyline starts off with a killer full on progressive metal passage before taking a break and and allowing the vocal to be isolated as to tell a story. The isolated vocal also gives the appearance of an ethereal register. Now the band are doing a incredible job coming together as a unit. Iron Skyline in all its complex time signatures can also be performed live as a three piece. The band never make the mistake and record something they can never play live. They execute their individual talents and allow breathing room for all the sum of the parts to really come together in harmony. This even holds true with the continual interchanges within the various time signatures and changes as a result. The track continues with some of the best guitar solo’s I have heard in some time. The band truly displays its very guitar oriented narratives.
Memories Of Light opens with a beautiful acoustical guitar passage along with a vocal chant that is practically a bit haunting. Soon that drops off and the drums take center to carry in a full instrumental and harmonic passage. The song soon takes on a anthem style about it. This track has a lot of personality that it gives the appearance that every instrument takes the lead at various points throughout the song. The guitar solo is as if the band wrote some jazz influenced passage and transcribed it to the guitar. At the 5:20 mark the track takes on some very interesting vocal harmonies.
Maiden Child opens up with some very wicked and deliberate rhythmic progressions. This opens up with some serious distorted grit with some power behind it. There are multiple levels in this one that leads in and out of various time progressions giving the song many faces and atmospheres. As a matter of fact this is the most atmospheric track on the album. The time signatures actually dictate the atmospheric narrative on Maiden Child. The guitar solo’s blend in nicely with the heavily lush atmospheres. This track allows the listener to become enveloped in it on many levels. The track is truly anchored by the Hammond Organ styled synth blended with the rhythm section. This track gets heavier and heavier the further you go into it. The vocal melodies really rest in harmony with the Hammond Organ styled synth. There is a fade out effect on the outro before fading back in briefly for the finish.
After going through the bands earlier efforts in my preparation for this review, I see a band that continues to grow. I also see a band that continues to improve in all areas of album making. Whether it is in the writing, recording, mixing, engineering or mastering Odd Logic improve more and more on every album and every song. I feel Effigy is the first album that gives the band a quality set list for live shows. Just on the improvements and effort to detail alone I am giving Odd Logic’s Effigy a 4/5.