Wothrosch – Odium Review

Greece. The Hellenic Republic. Land of gods and titans. Home of turquoise seas, moussaka, ouzo1 and … a surprising number of death metal bands. New kid on the block, Wothrosch is looking to tap into that scene on its debut album. The three-piece out of Athens dropped two singles in 2022, both of which now appear on Odium, the band’s full-length debut. And it seems like they have some momentum behind them, already signed to Dutch label Hammerheart Records, with their debut produced by George Emmanuel (who’s worked on albums from the likes of SepticFlesh and Rotting Christ, and is the guitarist for Lucifer’s Child) and with artwork—very pretty artwork, it has to be said—by SepticFlesh’ Seth Siro Anton, it seems like they’re well placed to make a splash. But all that counts for shit if the riffs ain’t up to muster.

Wothrosch majors in blackened old school death metal, which veers back and forth between frantic, pummelling assaults (“Tumor” and “Mass”, the latter featuring Shining’s Niklas Kvartforth) and brooding atmospherics, slowing to almost funeral doom pace in places (“Disease” and “Sinner”). Odium means widespread hatred or disgust showered on someone as a result of their actions and, drenched in reverb and echoing drawn-out notes, this record feels ugly, raw and loathsome. Vocalist Philip Dellas has a deep, gurgling roar that sits squarely on the fence between something rising from the depths of hell and the Cookie Monster. When he’s not using this, he slides up an octave or so into a hoarse, rasping growl that works well alongside the massive, thudding tones of bassist N.P.

At times recalling Demigod and The Apostasy-era Behemoth, at others closer to more recent SepticFlesh (think Codex Omega or Titan but with fewer melodic refrains and atmospherics) or even early Fleshgod Apocalypse (UUUAAAAUU), Wothrosch has written an album that moves through gears and moods well across its not insignificant 55-minute runtime. Odium is percussive in its impact, with rolling drum fills and blasts dominating the work on the kit, and the distorted, often dissonant, guitars thudding into you like hammer blows. At its best, like on the title track and “Purge”, the effect is almost hypnotic, as huge riffs roll over you like boulders, some slamming into you at speed before you can brace for impact, others taking their sweet, unstoppable time to steamroller you.

In other parts of the album, however, Wothrosch leans a little too hard into echoing effects and cliched samples (like the electronica, grating metal and uncomfortable, muffled screams of someone being tortured, which bookend “Sinner”, adding nothing to the track in the process), which detract a little from what are, in fact, some well written, tightly performed songs. There is also no getting away from the fact that Odium is too long and could stand to lose at least “Mass”, which is a weaker song than the other material on show. While the record does outstay its welcome a little, the effect of this is lessened by the fact Odium is bookended by two of the album’s strongest songs in the opening and closing numbers, “Child” and “Reign”, respectively. The furious, blackened bile of “Reign” injects a last shot of adrenaline into the ailing listener (and reviewer).

Well produced for the most part, with a filthy guitar tone and good drum sound, the master is a bit loud, which adds to the tiring nature of the listen. Even on a decent set of cans, I find myself exhausted at the end of each listen and needing to go and sit quietly in a corner for a few minutes, to let my ears have a moment to themselves. Odium is nevertheless a very strong debut from a promising band. While I don’t quite subscribe to the ‘key sales and marketing point’ from the promo blurb that Wothrosch is already “on a level that other bands need at least 3 albums to reach”, Odium is certainly well above the standard debut fare from a young death metal band. Demonstrating both songwriting chops and an interesting, unusual sound that they have made their own, if Wothrosch can learn to self-edit slightly and dials back the cliches a little, I predict the next album is going to be very tasty indeed.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Hammerheart Records
Websites: wothrosch.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/wothrosch
Releases Worldwide: January 13th, 2023

Show 1 footnote

  1. Excuse me while I go throw up.
« »