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Odd Dimension - The Last Embrace to Humanity Review

by Matt Hensch

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Remember how Odd Dimension took the world by storm back in 2011 with that awesome "Symmetrical" album? Oh wait, most folks were too busy talking about hipster dirt like Liturgy or whatever half-assed crap Machine Head had puked up for their doltish fans. "Symmetrical," other than the low interest, proved to be the finest debut of that year in my humble opinion; Odd Dimension had put on a show that even rivaled progressive legends like Dream Theater. Two years later, the Italians returned with "The Last Embrace to Humanity," and while it's not on the same godly plateau as their original effort, it's still a nice collection of above-average progressive metal boasting an abundance of coherent songwriting and instrumental flexibility. They show some different shades of style here, and it's relieving to know Odd Dimension is no one-trick pony.

Odd Dimension's design of progressive metal is a lot like Dream Theater's and Fates Warning's. Throughout "Symmetrical," Odd Dimension hadn't tried anything outlandish or experimental, but instead produced an album that was direct, honest, and definitely worthy of its running time. "The Last Embrace to Humanity" shows the group venturing into a broader sense of the progressive label, featuring introspective anthems la Fates Warning's "Inside Out" and the heavy, riff-based beatings of their first release. It appears they chose to rely less on the straightforward, driving guitar work of "Symmetrical" and that record's animated structure for a more modern, generalized album. It overall feels less ambitious, but "The Last Embrace to Humanity" shows several fine facets of Odd Dimension and some new surprises, too.

"Symmetrical" had avoided ballad-type anthems like the plague, but "The Last Embrace to Humanity" instead embraces the concept of emotionally-driven music and themes. "Dissolving into the Void" leans into the feelings a bit more than any of its preceding numbers, and "It's So Late" is a piano-driven, soft guitar-laced break from the heaviness. Then they hit "Another Time," another tender tune. It gets a little old at this point; thankfully they can it and get back to basics shortly thereafter. All three tunes are actually quite reasonable, and Michele Luppi of Secret Sphere adds some guest vocals on "It's So Late" that prove to be swell. The band's most interesting component happens to be Manuel Candiotto's voice, which, again, is an anomaly of sorts in the realm of contemporary vocalists. His tone and register are unique, but they fit well into the group's dynamic, and Candiotto delivers an excellent performance.

However, the heavier tunes that appear to have been rooted in the soils of "Symmetrical" are the best: "The Unknown King," "Under my Creed," and "Far From Desire" manage to scratch the surface of Odd Dimension's debut with startling accuracy. "The Last Embrace to Humanity" is, indeed, a bit of a slump compared to the piece that had come before it, yet Odd Dimension is still more than capable of remaining consistent and powerful during their journeys into progressive power. A little change never hurt anyone, and I'm glad Odd Dimension churned out a record that refused to replicate the past, instead morphing, evolving, challenging the fundamentals of growth. Stick to "Symmetrical," then head this way.

Odd Dimension - The Last Embrace to Humanity

Rating:8.0

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