The Essence of majestic black metal – on the one hand unapproachable in its claim to power, in his massive sonic outfit somehow disturbing, on the other hand fascinating in its quest for power and intoxicating in its forceful sound – that’s what the German band ODEM ARCARUM has internalized with its second album. It opposes the “old school” cult of primitiveness with its own version of black metal, which, with its epic arrangements, reminds of Emperor’s “Anthems …” era, but consistently refuses catchiness in a similar, although technically more assiduous way like Lunar Aurora. No doubt the southern German band has with “Outrageous Reverie Above The Erosion Of Barren Earth” succeeded in placing itself on a rugged island in the midst of the ever-faster-flowing mass flow of records that can be easily listened to while passing.
Whoever wants to climb upon the bank has to overcome some obstacles, because ODEM ARCARUM constantly challenge the listeners and do this in concentrated and solid manner, lining a merciless riff to the next and basically never slipping into a defensive position. “Outrageous Reverie Above The Erosion Of Barren Earth” is peppered by arrangements that reveal their intricate depth even after the tenth listening session in new details, and which transport a form of aggression that indeed doesn’t run down in common structures, but affects directly while seeming hardly palpable. To describe the lively atmosphere and musical extravaganza of this album, I could point out endless details, or make it simple and write that the six sometimes extremely long compositions truly exhibit no gross weakness – unless you judge by the standards of catchy pop music scheduled for easy listening.
ODEM ARCARUM deserve it, however, that their passionate and consistently sophisticated arrangements are assessed in their many facets, because the band doesn’t really follow the usual worn-out paths, but every musician is at any time in the service of each composition.
That might seem a trivial observance, but it does not sound that way – to the contrary: in this nightmarish maze of art almost everything is possible, thus a song could constantly change its form without losing the thread (yes, the thread exists). Each section is so headstrong and played energetically to the point, creating an overriding feeling that all of this could only sound this specific way. Any variation of the song, any keyboard arrangement, each slowing down or tightening of the pace by the rhythmic section, as well as the countless brusque riffs and epic melodies – all this makes sense, even if “Outrageous Reverie Above The Erosion Of Barren Earth” is anything but easy listening. I have to mention the role of the keyboard in particular, since it is used so sublime and effective that it is a pure – dark – delight. Yes, although in regard to structure and length of songs very different, ODEM ARCARUM in fact is similar to Code and it’s a pleasure to listen to some passages again and again, or, for example, to only concentrate on the drums for some time and always to discover something previously unheard. Even in the quieter passages it seems as if there’s hardly any air to breathe, for the tight grip of nightmarish melodies takes the stumbling listener through dark dreamscapes in which questions about his existence torment him relentlessly – isn’t he in his mortal shell already handed over to hell?
In comparison with the former emperors of black metal, ODEM ARCARUM abstains from grandiose symphony, but not from a similarly sublime artwork to encase its music. And anything else wouldn’t do justice to this 65 minutes long opus.
It remains the astonished reviewer’s duty to point out that a compulsive realization of this music a few days before the deadline could only be tackled with megalomania. A respectable analysis of such a magnificent record needs temporal distance.
(this review is translated from Legacy #66.6)
Label: Osmose Productions
Avantgenre: Sophisticated Black Metal
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/odemarcarum666
Review online since: 24.03.2010 / 20:17:15
01 – Gate
02 – Oceans
03 – Worlds Of Barren Land
04 – Loss
05 – Hell & Revelation
06 – The Body & Perpetual Imagination
07 – A Darker Kind Of Dreaming