Odradek Room: Bardo. Relative reality

No no no, we didn't improperly write the title, that's how it appears verbatim on the album cover, so give us a break.  We don't correct grammar and syntax errors of bands if they're being "artistic" for us.  Especially if they assist us with their knowledge, explaining the meaning of the Tibetan word 'bardo' on which this album is based.  And the art, it's some sort of abstract expressionist thing with thick, red paint "based on the picture of Alena Svelitskaya," whoever that is.  We tried searching in Russian, but since these guys are Ukrainian (yes different alphabet), that ruined us from the start.  We like artistic, we like to think, as long as it doesn't tease at our rage and isn't forced down our throats.  There's nothing worse than being force-fed ideology that's really just a bunch of urine sprayed on a canvas.  We'll let that go for Odradek Room, because this is a fine release overall, and in fact it's a reissue because it was previously released in 2012 in digital format.  For a band this unknown, you go in with low expectations, especially with the progressive and doom tags being thrown around their Facebook page sans proper capitalization, so perhaps that enabled us to accept most of it more readily.
  

Bardo. Relative reality is a multi-layered selection covering more than the two genres mentioned above.  There's tons of depth to be found; beautiful chords, depressing dirge riffs, echoing sadness, clean-tone vocals, roars and screams, and some etc. to end our rambling.  References to the Tibetan Book of the Dead aren't so unique, even in the world of metal, but finally you have a case here where you can ignore most of that 'typical' to pay attention to the grit.  Odradek Room, on the positive side, have a great command of atmosphere.  They know how to touch the right chords at the right moments, and they usually have an intuitive grasp of the listener's attention capacity, specifically when to lead into a sick riff, how long to let it ride, and just when to end it so you're waiting for it again.  Check out that killer heart-ripper around 8:30 mark in "A Painting (digging into the canvas with oil)" to get a clue.  Their ability to go from acoustic to hard is notable, as well, though at times they can dip too far into emotion without the proper beast to pick it back up when it needs to tear again.  In addition, it can sometimes take forever to go where it needs to, but we'll come back to that in a bit.

 

Actually make that right now.  There's an eerie quality to the majority of the music on Bardo. Relative reality that really serves to grasp the listener, and the amount of variety is incredible, but it's stretched over practically a full hour of tracks.  Odradek Room can bring it when they need to bring it, minus the times when the guitars can sound a little frail.  That can be ignored because of the direction they're going for.  But when they're not bringing it, it can grow tiresome, and that's the main complaint about this album.  The amount of time each song takes to reach fruition will tax, then audit, the most patient of listeners and sometimes the shifts from melancholy to monster are tied too strongly to distance.  Distance is the key element here, because though some of these tracks develop and develop hard, like they're beautiful even, it can take them over seven minutes to get where they're going.  In addition, at least two of them are essentially acoustic fillers and you might as well move on to the next because you have a lot of ground to cover to get a true feel for it.   But despite this issue, Bardo. Relative reality is an excellent representation of the Eastern European scene, which via its history has always been known for intense rumination and the bitter necessity in suffering.

 

Odradek Room Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Odradek Room: Bardo. Relative reality
Hypnotic Dirge Records
4 / 5