Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts – Album Review

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Artist: Odd Logic

Album Title: Penny For Your Thoughts

Label: Independent Release

Date Of Release: 26 March 2016

The first I knew of Odd Logic was as a result of an email to my Facebook page. The band was recommended to me by a reader and so it was only polite to have a listen. I liked what I heard and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have since done my research and identified that Odd Logic are a progressive metal quartet based in Tacoma, Washington in the USA. Comprised of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Sean Thompson, guitarist Steven Pierce, bassist Mike Lee and drummer Pete Hanson, Odd Logic came into being following the disbanding of Thompson’s previous band MINE! just after the millennium. The band must therefore be the world’s best kept secret. They have been in existence for the better part of 13 years and in that time, have released no fewer than five records. And yet, for some reason, they remain unsigned and, it would appear, have yet to make waves of any significant magnitude within the prog community.

Based on all this, you’d be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that Odd Logic are just another toiling prog band that are a little bit rubbish, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong. Ok, so I’ve not delved into any of the band’s back catalogue as yet but, on the basis of the music contained within album number six ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’, there seems to be a paucity of justice where Odd Logic are concerned.

This is a superb progressive metal album and I have fallen well and truly under its spell.

The first thing to say is that ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’ is properly progressive. This isn’t one of those records that toys around the edges of prog thanks to an occasional off-kilter riff or brief foray into anything other than a 4-4 time signature. The music of Odd Logic has a lot going on within it, with different ideas falling over themselves to be heard. And yet, despite what could become an untidy or unruly listening experience remains commendably cohesive. Almost naturally and organically, elements of rock, metal, jazz, classical and pop are fused together to create an enthralling, dramatic and dynamic listening experience.

Odd Logic, to their immense credit, don’t sound quite like anyone else. That said, to offer some kind of clarity within this review, I’d tentatively suggest that there are echoes of art-rock bands like A.C.T. in the almost theatrical feel that this record has, albeit Odd Logic are significantly heavier. Additionally, the band themselves state that they are inspired and influenced by the likes of King’s X, Sting, Kansas, Opeth, Symphony X and Dream Theater and, to a greater or lesser extent, these influences can be heard from time to time throughout this rich and varied album.

odd logic band

In classic prog style, ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’ is built around a concept. It is a convoluted, complex and fascinating story, one that I will let listeners discover for themselves. However, as you might expect, there is an element of far-fetched science-fiction within it as well as an exploration of a myriad of human emotions. It is the perfect set of foundations upon which to flex some prog metal muscles and Odd Logic do this with style and aplomb.

The album kicks off with ‘Penny’, the ubiquitous cinematic and suspense-filled intro that then leads into ‘The First’. It opens with a lush piano and vocal melody before exploding into a heavy, down-tuned riff accented by plenty of keyboards. Almost as swiftly, the riff departs to be replaced my some lush melodies dominated by the bass guitar, keys and the really excellent emotional vocals of Thompson. The voice drops away and is replaced by a subtle lead guitar line before the whole thing explodes into a monumentally bruising djent-esque riff that is again gone in the blink of an eye. The keys and bass take centre stage again as a spoken-word piece leads into a closing vocal melody that’s reminiscent of Seventh Wonder.

‘Life, Lore & Love’ takes over and begins with a powerful and satisfyingly heavy riff and some classic prog tinkling on the keyboards. The voice provides all the melody as the riffs continue to bludgeon before the track segues into something much more melodic and memorable with soaring vocals within a jazz-meets-AOR framework. A more modern and futuristic vibe emerges thanks to some interesting synth sounds atop the robust riffs. And then, out of nowhere, when you think the song is over, it plays around with more subtle vocal and piano melodies and even introduces an operatic-like voice to raise an eyebrow or two.

Such is the manner in which each track flits from idea to idea like an eager toddler, it is impossible to offer detailed thoughts on the remainder of the songs on the album without making this an unreadable mess of a review that lasts longer than ‘War And Peace’.

I have to say that the entire album is consistently excellent, with not a poor or substandard track to be heard. Nevertheless, I have a few particular highlights and these include the absolutely gorgeous ‘Lighthouses’ with its luxurious neo-prog-meets-AOR-meets pop melodies and expressive lead guitar work and ‘Court Of Ancient Rulers’ with its juxtaposition between the deep and sinister extreme metal growls, the hook-laden and emotional melodies and the furious thrash metal moments of all-out attack. The epic ‘The Island’ is superb too with its ‘Ziltoid’-era Devin Townsend accents as well as moments of 70s prog rock and explosive and expansive closing crescendo.

As you can probably tell, this has been something of a revelation to me. I adore this record because it delivers exactly what I like in my music. It is heavy, melodic, complex, intelligent, surprisingly emotional and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. If this album is indicative of the remainder of Odd Logic’s back catalogue, I am at a complete loss to understand why this band are not in the highest echelons of the prog metal elite. Nevertheless, I’m hoping that this review and others are the beginning of rectifying this scandalous situation. So get your ears around ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’ immediately and spread the word.

The Score Of Much Metal: 9.2

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:

Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

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