Odradek Room – Bardo. Relatve Reality

Named after one of Franz Kafka’s short stories, Odradek Room is an atmospheric and progressive death-doom band with post-rock leanings from Mariupol, Ukraine. Initially formed in 2008 under the name ‘Shards Of Silence’, the band changed their name at the beginning of 2010, and their first release appeared on the compilation of Doom-art.ru project. Their first full-length album, Bardo. Relative Reality was initially recorded in early 2012 and self-released in digital format. However, it was later decided that the album would be re-recorded to fix up a few issues in the recordings.

The two words that immediately sparked my attention on reading the band’s involved history was Franz Kafka a man I particularly admire especially for his work called ‘The Metamorphosis’ and to give you an insight here is a quote from it “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armour-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.”

A tale of inadequacy, guilt and disgrace emerges, but there is a twist in the tale as Kafka wrote about the predicament of modern man in such a way it was comical.

To quote a passage from Franz Kafka’s the Odradek story – “The Cares of a Family Man,” the master of literary enigma invents Odradek, a weird domestic creature made up of gnarled and knotted bits of thread, stuck around a star shaped spool. The titular, troubled family man, who narrates Kafka’s yarn, sees Odradek lurking throughout the crevices of his house, and seems to know this monster well”

So this other story from Kafka is not so dis-similar to ‘The Metamorphosis” and is somewhat intriguing, which makes me wonder what knotty and gnarled up creature is about to emerge through the spool that is the invention created by Ukraine’s Odradek Room – We shall find out…

Theatre Of Forms
A dark ambient layer of melodic doom spreads its wings over some serious sound-scapes of experimental shrill rhythms. It is all housed in a neat little box of melancholic dream-like structures that interlock building a clearer picture of this monster we know as Odradek and it paints a sombre but interesting one. The vocals harsh and scathing really come into their own on this beast of a track and work their magic.

Inflorescence Of Silence
The sounds of creaking floorboards are heard the beast Odradek has awoken and a clean vocal emerges from the crevices of a darkened room, however the light shines through an open window and fills this room with an overwhelming melody. Sung in Russian, which pleases me a lot. Although slow and undulating it is not as oppressive as you would think and gives scope for more intense patterns to emerge.

A Painting (Digging Into The Canvas Of Oil)
Such a shame I can’t understand a lot of Russian, but I do so love languages and the Russian language gives this track intrigue as the encompassing experimental wall of sound literally embellishes the ears and quickens the heartbeat.  It is a very emotional track that literally paints a vivid picture, be it a sad one as the melody is slow but striking in it is approach. It contains a strong bass line that seems to be the foundation of the painting and the streaks of paint on canvas can clearly be heard not seen, as a startling shrill guitar swipes its angular rhythms creating a woven and intricate design that flourishes as the chords reach their climax, whilst the vocals are gnarly and serve to create the bleakness within the picture – this holds so much for the listener to conjure up in the mind.

Suffocation
A slow ballad, but still sung with emotion, deep and intense it carries a sombre array of rhythms that slightly fluctuate and then smooth’s out completely. Holding within its icy fingers a melodic swathe of beauty from within the gloom and is extremely refreshing. The superb guitar solo gives the track perfect balance and despite the title gives the listener clear air to breathe and wallow in, so this begs the question is the beast suffocating in fresh air as it leaves the safety of the crevices within the floorboards?

Faded Reality
A more demonic feel feeds this track – the beast is fighting back and coming into its own here. The evil rhythm holds within it an aggressive stance amid the striking guitar and harsh beats dipping then to more icy depths with a tingling flurry of keys that strike like rain, it unfolds into a more eerie grain of encompassing fire. Tremendous feeling to just wallow in this melodic sway of rhythms to the sound of a Russian voice that suddenly turns devilish. This is powerful and will shake you to the core.

River
A very melancholic rhythm plods evenly to an intense beat with a sampled array of mixed voices that join in the immense fluctuation of tempo and give it a jumbled intrigue, whilst the guitar holds a steady melody until it builds to one of the most powerful crescendos I have ever heard!  Even the heart can’t beat as quickly as this! A softer vocal harmony blends into the swell of rhythms and the tempo drops like a pebble in a river forcing its ripples to spiral into oblivion.

Cold Light
A shrill clanking emerges with a more subsonic sombre of heavy beats. It sounds cumbersome as it moves slowly – the beast that is Odradek is showing his true colours and playing tricks to his surrounding audience of intense aura, mockingly terrifying the vocals scream in anguish and then return to a more inherent tone to a build-up of highly intense beats that suddenly slow and diminish.

This E.P will paint some crazy images in your mind once you get to know Ordarek! Carving and creating a being from musical notes and building rhythms that turn a surreal world into a unique encounter. Compulsive tracks each one memorable in their own way have come together on one E.P.  If you read The Metamorphosis or Odradek Room by Franz Kafka, this album will simply come to life! Outstanding and completely innovative, and must be savoured with relish!

Reviewer: Pagan Hel

May 16, 2013

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Odradek Room – Bardo. Relatve Reality

odradekroom_r.jpg
  1. Theatre Of Forms
  2. Inflorescence Of Silence
  3. A Painting (Digging Into The Canvas Of Oil)
  4. Suffocation
  5. Faded Reality
  6. River
  7. Cold Light

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