Odmenn

Ódmenn

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Ódmenn were a short-lived Icelandic hard-prog band; they released only one album before disbanding. But it was quite an album -- a double disc, now remastered and fit onto a single CD, it encapsulates both their abilities and its time period quite well. There's a single, "It Takes Love," which is the only song out of 15 sung in English (and good English at that); tasteful organ and jazzy drums shadow the vocalist for a midtempo three-and-a-half-minute journey that skirts the territory explored by the Doors and the early Moody Blues. The lyrics aren't the only thing that make this song stand out from the rest of the album, though. Ódmenn were primarily a boogie band with some artistic pretensions, and the rest of these songs are almost proto-metal at times, with plenty of distorted guitar solos and hard riffing. "Betri Heimur" is built on a hypnotic, caveman-simple bassline that's not far away from what the Swedish band November were doing at the same time. Some songs, like "Þær Sviku," have the feel of electrified folk music, with a particularly energetic drummer (his work is excellent throughout, and his drum solo on "Frelsi" is well deserved). "Frelsi," the last song on the disc, occupied all of side four on the original vinyl; it's a sprawling, nearly 19-minute epic of the type nearly every rock band attempted at the time, but it's got more cohesion and artfulness than most managed. The Shadoks label has taken as its mission the urge to prove that great rock can come from anywhere. With Ódmenn, they've made their case once again.

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