With a band named after a short story by Franz Kafka, and an album which is partially inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, you probably expect this album to be progressive and artistic. And, well, the debut album from the Ukraninian band Odrakek Room is indeed progressive and artistic.
The core style od death-doom, which means that the songs evolve around heavy songs featuring melancholy galore and growled vocals (think early Anathema, early My Dying Bride, or early Paradise Lost). But this core sound is wrapped in an inspiration from post-rock and alternative rock, and this works brilliantly in creating music which appeals both emotionally and cerebrally. Every song on the album is complex in song structure, juxtaposing heavy and doom-laden passages that feature crunchy guitars and growled vocals with mellow post-rock passages of clean guitars, introvert melancholia, and loads of atmosphere. And, as if that is not enough, one of the trademark moves of Odradek Room is to combine them, such that you have clean melancholic guitars nicely laid on top of the crunchy doom-parts. The album also features some brilliantly crushing riffs - just check the aggressive sections of 'Faded Reality'.
Being a sucker for guitar harmonies, my favorite parts of the album are those heavy passages, where the heavy drumbeat is accompanied by doomy guitar harmonies, as in the massively sad (and, mind you, in doom metal sad is good) intro of 'A Painting (Digging into the Canvas With Oil)'. Melody is a central element in Odradek Room's music, and it is generated through a variety of means from guitar harmonies and melodic gutiar leads, over melancholic octave chords, to the occasional use of piano effects.
But the album as a whole is extremely well put together. It is complex and sophisticated, but captures the core of what makes good doom metal: heaviness and melancholy. Fans of doom-death, and possibly also fans of post-metal and more adventuous fans of melancholic alternative rock, should defintiely check out Bardo. Relative Reality.
1. Theatre of Forms
2. Inflorescence of Silence
3. A Painting (Digging into the Canvas with Oil)
5. Faded Reality
7. Cold Light