Morgoth

Odium

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Alternately viewed, depending on who you ask, as Morgoth's finest hour or their undoing, 1993's Odium found the German quintet bent on expanding their sound following a perfectly acceptable, but perfunctory, death metal effort in 1991's Cursed. Effectively, they seemed to be consciously distancing themselves from the distinctly American death metal habits attained of late, and trying to assimilate -- even if only tentatively -- a number of different influences, ranging from the groovier type of riffs popularized by the likes of Entombed and the then-fast-rising Swedish death metal scene, to the industrial music tendencies making waves worldwide at the time. As a result, Odium songs like "Art of Sinking," "Drowning Sun" and "War Inside" had their lyrics shouted in an almost hardcore style (more so than gurgled in death metal form), were built on cleaner guitar riffs than the deathly sludge of old, and, most egregiously in longtime fans' eyes, wound up surrendering massive doses of pure ferocity in the bargain. However, open-minded listeners less attached to Morgoth's uniform brutality past, likewise encountered numerous reasons to embrace the far more varied combinations of moods and textures fueling the likes of "Under the Surface," "Submission" (complete with murmured vocals -- shock!), and especially all-purpose opener "Resistance." In sum, those willing to accept these aesthetic innovations will find almost nothing to bitch about here, while purists will probably have fled the battlefield by now. In either analysis, Odium probably constitutes Morgoth's most memorable album, and certainly their last, fully committed effort as a band before the seeds of discontent set in.

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