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(51:45, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Affect Us 3:50 2. Blue Line 5:30 AM 5:37 3. Can't Forgive Me 5:11 4. There Then, Here Again 4:29 5. Blacktop Southbound 4:38 6. Silent Revolution 4:01 7. The Wrong Turn at the Right Time 5:27 8. Red Glow Dreaming 4:53 9. The Echo of Chaos 4:20 10. Feathered We Fly 3:59 11. Leaving Chicago 5:20 LINEUP: Matt Brookins – vocals; guitars, programming Savino Palumbo - keyboards, piano Rick Pierpont – guitars; vocals John Abella – drums; vocals Craig Jackson – bass Craig Moran – b/v
Prolusion. The US act ODIN'S COURT was formed back in 2002 and has been an active unit both in terms of recording material and performing live. "Human Life in Motion" is their fourth studio album to date, and was issued by the US label Progrock Records in May 2011.
Analysis. Music, like most forms of art and entertainment, is a matter of subjective taste more than anything else. What makes a person like or dislike a production comes down to a lot of different matters. Stylistic expression is one, while others may be the choice of instrumentation, production or lyrics. And while some artists have a generally broad appeal, others have distinguishing features that make them more susceptible to becoming either liked or disliked to a greater extent than what is usual. In my opinion, Odin's Court is such a band. In terms of style I'd guess that progressive metal would be the best categorization for the sound this act explores. But as one of many of their better traits, it is a diverse and hard-to-pin-down variety of it. Rather than opting for a defined sound and approach, they spread out and incorporate a wide variety of secondary styles too, and in some respects one might describe Odin's Court as a band that jumps back and forth between art rock and progressive metal. Dampened excursions with symphonic tinges are just as much a part of their output as classic guitar riff and keyboard constellations and sophisticated, asynchronous guitar-driven constructions with more of a challenging character. The instrumentalists cope fairly well with the diversity too, be it the nifty fingers needed for the more adventurous escapades, the slower and harder-hitting approach for the darker, slow excursions or the gentle touches needed to give instrumental life to a smooth ballad, and it's all pretty much in place. The songs aren't always that memorable, but instrument connoisseurs should have plenty to enjoy whilst giving this CD a spin. The production is of fair quality too, which it needs to be for music that covers such a varied landscape as the one found on this disc. The make-or-break for this band and this creation will be the lead vocals, however. Brookins is at best an ordinary singer, whose delivery is rather plain. And to my ears, which are rather sensitive in the vocals department admittedly, I get the impression that he struggles with both range and technical delivery, in particular in the mellow compositions and the ones most demanding to perform. Many songs here have been crafted with a need for a brilliant lead vocalist to carry the tune and add emotion to the proceedings, and for me Brookins doesn't manage to do that on this occasion. Perceptions on music are very much individual though; my impression isn't a universal truth etched in stone. It is a personal assessment, and should be regarded as that.
Conclusion. "Human Life in Motion" is a well-constructed piece of progressive metal with frequent detours into the art rock universe. Variety in scope, approach and style are the common denominator for this production, and instrumentally there's plenty for the attentive listener to enjoy. The compositions aren't always that interesting overall however, and the delivery of lead vocalist Brookins appears to be something of a weakness, at least to my ears. If you like his voice and enjoy refined music switching back and forth between art rock and progressive metal in style you should find this disc to be a rather enjoyable one.
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