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Odyssice - Impression  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 65 ratings

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2 stars If one wished to clone CAMEL and arrive at a superior product, it can be argued that either a strong vocalist or no vocalist at all would be two promising avenues available. After all, it's really Andrew Latimer's simultaneously searing and sensitive lead guitars occasionally alternating with rippling keyboards and lively or melancholic flutes that make CAMEL arguably the most influential progressive group relative to commercial success. ODYSSICE are clearly unrestrained fans, and their formula is a winner...on paper anyway.

Unfortunately, for much of this disk, all we have is a formula, the heart of their heroes inseparable from the grooves on those classic LPs. Even the showcase tracks like the opener "Scream", while boasting majestic moments, tend to wander at times and leave the listener in an unwelcome stupor. Bastiaan Peters has quite mastered his axe work but he splits his wood too predictably, employing the same old chops. Like "Scream", "Lokapolas" is built around an irresistible melodic hook but can't deliver a convincing setting in which it can flourish. Most pieces consist of wrenching slow leads that seduce us with a buildup to nothing, or offer compositionally challenged alternations between robust and delicate passages. More often than not these visitors stay too long.

Still, the sound is lovely, and several tunes rise above the mediocre, particularly "Se˝kan", even if it begins a lot like a more processed "Hotel California", as it develops a lovely Native American sounding melody; the ambient title cut; and the traditional "Flower of Scotland". Both "Legend" and "Anuradhapura" showcase the group's most unique attribute, Peters' guitar synthesizer, and the latter blends in eastern influences, but unfortunately within the context of a typical Odyssice arrangement.

Notwithstanding some good playing and my best wishes, the compositions, arrangements and conviction all leave me lukewarm. The template was of the highest caliber, and my lasting impression is that this should have been a lot better.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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