Vokonis – Odyssey (Review)

Vokonis - OdysseyThis is the fourth album from Vokonis, a progressive doom metal band from Sweden.

Vokonis’ style mixes together progressive metal with stoner and doom metal, resulting in a colourful and enjoyable collection of tracks. While Mastodon is the obvious reference point, it’s also an inadequate one for Odyssey, as there’s a lot more at play here than simply Mastodon worship. I can also hear elements of bands as diverse as Sleep, Slomatics, Elder, Perihelion Ship, Rush, Khemmis, Alice in Chains, Witchkiss, Monolord, and Black Crown Initiate, to name but a few.

The songs are awash with rich melody and choice riffs. Each track has something of its own going on, making for a well-differentiated and well-rounded listen. Vokonis seem quite at ease with crafting music that effortlessly moves between catchy instant appeal and deeper substance and emotion. Of course, these component parts are frequently entwined as one, to great effect.

Across the album the band adopt a dual vocal approach that works well for them. One singer has a gruff shouted style, while the other deploys soaring cleans. Other styles also appear here and there, such as growls and screams, but the upshot is that the vocals are very proficient and fit the music’s adventurous metallic sheen to a tee.

Vokonis’ melodic potency is an important part of what makes Odyssey so compelling, but it’s not the only factor. Progressive flourishes help to flesh out the music’s potential, and the keyboards are a prime contributor to this. The band are confident and skilled enough to use psychedelic explorations to their full advantage, allowing the songs freedom to wander and build atmosphere where they need to, but without compromising the needs of the music or the overall song structure that they’ve worked so hard to build.

All of the above is combined into a very strong and lean 41-minute package, and would be an extremely enticing prospect if that’s all that there was here. However, this package is tempered and hardened by some delectable aggressive tendencies and meaty, heavy riffs, so that the songs never lose sight of the molten metal heart of the band.

Odyssey is a striking album from a band who clearly know what they’re doing. This is an impressive outing, and I’ll be spinning this for some time.

Very highly recommended.

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