At the Bottom

Folks, THIS is how clean vocals on a metal record are done right.

Plying a familiar form of modern metal that will appeal to fans of Killswitch Engage, All That Remains and such, Canada’s Odium add a couple of things to spruce up their sound: some heavy handed but well placed, dramatic orchestral synths that are in line with some of the Lacuna Coil or some of the other Gothic metal bands (and reminded me a little of Across the Sun’s self released effort) and the ace in the hole, vocalist Tom Emmans.

Emmans has the requisite Phil Labonte/Howard Jones styled duality, with a competent scream/growl, but his soulful clean croon is a simply outstanding mix of the two but with a heavy dose of Tool’s Maynard Keenan (especially when he enters one of his more restrained, moody moments) thrown in.

To be honest, At The Bottom took a while to grow on me, as musically it isn’t the most original thing in the world, and opener “Oblivion’s Gates” and “Frailty” are pretty standard tracks beyond Emmans standout vocals, but once the lavish synths and clean vocals broke down my hardy death metal exterior, I found my self singing along and enjoying the album immensely, especially to the third track, standout “Serenity’s End”, with just a killer chorus. The rest of the tracks are no slouches either once you warm up to them, all are crunchy, catchy, some are radio ready and they all are glossed with Emmans silky smooth yet angst filled croons.

Along with “Serenity’s End, “At The Bottom”, “Failure”, catchy as fuck other standout “Lifting the Veil”, all have that all to important ‘it’ factor that makes enjoyable songs regardless of genre. With all the quality death and black metal I have lined up for review, I find myself coming back to At the Bottom with surprising regularity. Even clichéd closing ballad “The Abyss Stared Back” has a certain somber flare to it, ending an album that is actually far nearer the top of the genre and not even close to the bottom.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 22nd, 2009


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    wasn’t there a symphonic black metal band called Odium years ago? or are these the same guys?

  2. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    Gaba….The guys from Odium formed Myrkskog.

  3. Commented by: Shane

    Let Uncle Dan clear that up for ya.

  4. Commented by: hevy blevy

    ..and their one record was killer

  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah I have the first Myrkskog, amazing. second one left me cold.

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