OddlandMore often than not, winners and fan favourites in today’s highly publicized music contests – no matter where in the world they take place – fail to do more than release a hit single or two before disappearing from the public eye. Finnish progressive metal band ODDLAND took just such a path on their way to securing their deal with Century Media, having won the majority of the Suomi Metal Star contest jury members, but they’re destined to be anything but a flash in the pan.
Launched in 2002 as a rock-oriented band with leanings towards grunge, Oddland slowly but surely drifted in a metal-oriented direction. Demos were recorded in 2004 (Against All Odds) and 2007 (Connection Critical Behind) more or less for fun, but the band began to take a much more serious approach to their music in 2008 when vocalist/guitarist Sakari Ojanen’s returned from a year-long hiatus in Spain. This resulted in the demo/promo Away From The Watching Eye in 2010. It was the beginning of Oddland as the prog monsters they are today.
“I don’t know if you can draw the line between us getting more serious and the music becoming more progressive,” says Ojanen. “The sound developed in its own way. I guess we kind of grew into listening to more progressive bands and metal in general. I did listen to heavy music, of course, but it was more like ALICE IN CHAINS and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS. Those bands are still important to me, but my taste for metal has grown since then.”
The Treachery Of Senses is prog metal at its most creative. Rather than zero in on the formula that DREAM THEATER inadvertently turned into a blueprint for the genre, Oddland serve up an uncompromising devil-may-care platter that recalls the dark atmosphere of the FATES WARNING classic A Pleasant Shade Of Gray, while touching on other musical greats such as TOOL, SYMPHONY X, ALICE IN CHAINS and even FAITH NO MORE. There is no formula in Oddland, no cookie-cutter compositions, only freedom of expression.
“I really believe that if any of us were to do solo albums they would sound very different from Oddland,” Ojanen offers. “When one of us brings an idea to the rest of the band, that idea changes a lot. Everybody adds their own touch to the songs in some way. Sometimes everybody is taking things in a different direction, so it can be a struggle. We sometimes end up with something we didn’t expect, which makes the music sound fresh to our own ears because it isn’t the result of just one person composing.”
Revered by veteran producer Dan Swanö as “one of the best album I have mixed, ever!” The Treachery Of Senses features a young band that clearly isn’t afraid of spitting in the face of current metal trends while keeping things aggressive yet playful. Case in point with Ojanen’s vocals, which come off as a mix between Tool’s Maynard Keenan and Faith No More’s Mike Patton as he neatly sidesteps the death metal growl approach so many newcomers rely on to fit in.
“I don’t know if it’s a completely conscious decision because my growling definitely doesn’t sound professional,” Ojanen laughs. “I haven’t been very interested in learning how to do that, either, and I don’t think the other guys in the band would want it in the music. So, not having that element in the music definitely sets us apart from other new bands these days.”
Oddland are also conscious of the fact they’re the odd men out, so to speak, on the Century Media roster. Proof that the label found something in the band’s brand of music that should be heard the world over.
“I think we were all very surprised in the end that they chose us,” Ojanen admits. “We knew there was a chance with the reactions we got through Suomi Metal Star, but this kind of music is not that easy to get into, so we’re very grateful to have their support.”
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