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Terra Odium: Ne Plus Ultra

Ne Plus Ultra is the debut album from new Norwegian 'supergroup' Terra Odium, who are comprised of singer/guitarist Øyvind Hægeland (Spiral Architect, Arcturus, Manitou), guitarist Bollie Fredriksen (Manitou), drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect, Ihsahn, Borknagar, Veil of Secrets), bassist Steve Di Giorgio (Testament, Death, Spirits of Fire, Sadus, Charred Walls of the Damned), and additional help on orchestrations from Dragonforce's Jon Phipps and extra vocals from Tristania's Kjetil Nordhus. This debut album appears on Frontiers Records, well known as the place for these sort of all-star collaborations but not generally anything this heavy. Ne Plus Ultra is quite well conceived progressive metal, perhaps not as off the charts ambitious as Spiral Architect, but certainly within the realms of classic material from the likes of Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Dream Theater, King Diamond, and Queensryche.

Vocally, Hægeland is in fine form throughout, his upper register wails fit perfectly alongside the complex guitar riffs and dynamic rhythms on songs such as "The Road Not Taken", "Crawling", and the lengthy "The Thorn". Keyboards and orchestrations are added in spots for color, but do not detract from the exceptional guitar, bass, and drum work that is woven expertly on some of the more atmospheric tracks like "Winter" and "The Clouded Morning", as there is plenty of room for all these musicians to breathe and build on some nice textures. When they want to crank up the complex metal though, they certainly do, as on the venomous "The Shadow Lung" and the more brooding "The Thorn".

Meticulously performed and produced, Ne Plus Origin is a red hot surprise here in the latter part of 2021 and should be a progressive metal release that will rank high on many "Best of the Year' lists when it's all said and done.

Bollie Fredriksen / Rhythm & lead guitar
Asgeir Mickelson / Drums
Øyvind Hægeland / Vocals & lead guitar
Steve Di Giorgio / Bass
Jon Phipps / Orchestration & synths
Kjetil Nordhus / additional vocals

1. Crawling
2. The Road Not Taken
3. Winter
4. The Shadow Lung
5. The Thorn
6. It Was Not Death
7. The Clouded Morning

Added: December 6th 2021
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1274
Language: english

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Terra Odium: Ne Plus Ultra
Posted by James Mannion, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-12-06 21:20:37
My Score:

When the total package is racked up high and combining a bunch of experienced musicians becomes a concept that must be endured, then you may immediately want to join in with the shenanigans and invest your time into this.

With this topic at hand, we have the likes of the New Progressive Metal outlet Terra Odium consisting of the talented members of Oyvind Haegeland (Spiritual Architect) on vocals, Jon Phipps (D'Amorte) on keys, Asgeir Mickelson (ex-Borknagar, ex-Highland Glory, Veil of Secrets) on drums, Steve DiGiorgio (Charrred Walls of the Damned, Testament, ex-Death, ex-Sebastian Bach)on bass and Billie Fredriksen (ex-Manitou); creating together an interesting concoction of musical brilliance and a heavily immersive atmosphere for the progressively minded.

In all honesty, the debut effort from the Nordic five will take some time to click as this is a really complex piece of art as a while that will not be all digested at once with an immediate ease. Essentially, patience is the most important key to opening the door of this brawny offering and contributing your time to this record will definitely pay off down the line for sure.

The heaviness dwelling amongst the bulk of 'Ne Plus Ultra' appears to be so dirty and dark that the riffing from Fredriksen is just so effectively brutal paired alongside Haegeland's commanding vocal lines that just completely soar through with power and determination.

Tracks like the phenomenal opener 'Crawling' to me is simply just a masterpiece in its own right and the wondrously indulgent 'The Shadow Lung' has the range of dynamics to bring out the darkest rage of emotions, whilst in addition escorting the light to the table at the exact same time.

On show for the ride, there are only seven episodes to throughly enjoy, however they appear to not be the usual average lengths for songs and they do cleverly become winners over the lasting duration. For example, the storming epic of 'The Thorn' is a musical journey to embark upon in its own right and the elegantly rich number like the charming 'Winter' highly reminds me of Queensryche for some apparent reason, therefore for me personally this is a massively enjoyable endeavour for my ears to take in with all its power and integrity.

Would I recommend this to everyone - no, probably not but if you love Atmospheric Progressive Metal or even Melodic Metal, this would be on my advisory list to check out in the very near future and for those who enjoy the likes of classic outfits like Queensryche - then this is a record to make it onto the must check out list for what is left of 2021.

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