German melodic thrash metal band, Odium

The term “Odium” can imply a number of things: a strong contempt, aversion, or dislike; a quality or state of being hateful (odious); hatred and condemnation; a state of disgrace emanating from detestable conduct, etc. And looking at the sounds of the German melodic thrash metal band, Odium, it is apparent that they’ve assumed the gravity of the word.

There is more than one artist using the name Odium, but the German heavy metal band was formed in 1993, and has released seven albums, an EP (“Just a Crisis”, and a demo CD dubbed “Grim Reaper”.  Their latest release in 2014 – in cooperation with Noisehead Records – called “The Science of Dying” had the following line-up:

  • Rochus Pfaff – guitar
  • David Hubsch – guitar
  • Belinda Ann Smaka – bass
  • Martin Kunz – drums
  • Reinhard Runkel – vocals

Odium has been quite an intimidating group right from the start with a reverent for Thrash and lyrics centred on themes of hate, love, and death. Their 2014 album, for instance, featured a mixture of thrash and power metal played, as well as some finer and mellow tunes. Their skillful blend of Bay Area Thrush, melody, and raw and undistorted metal has gained more and more fans during their tours across Germany, neighbouring countries, and the whole of Europe.

History of Thrash Metal

Thrash is a subgenre of heavy metal music, which is one of the extreme subgenres characterised by aggression and high speed riffling. Songs in this subgenre are typically percussive, fast, and low-register guitar riffs with a shredding-style lead work overlay.

The lyrics often address social concerns using intuitive and blunt language, an approach that somewhat overlaps with the hardcore genre. Thrash metal is mostly associated with Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax, which simultaneously created and popularised the metal genre in the early 1980s. But the origins of thrash metal are traced to the late 1970s when multiple bands started to incorporate the sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), like Motörhead and Venom, as well as another style of American rock/metal music arising at the time, Glam Metal.

The outcome was the creation of a new genre and the development of an independent movement from punk rock and hardcore. In the late ‘70s, existing bands took the roughest elements of the NWOBHM sound and focused on creating fast and energetic music with riffs focused more on rhythmic than melodic aspects and laid out simple melodies over the so-called skank beats (palm-muted pedal-point notes).

The skank beats are derived from hardcore punk, whereby a straight snare/bass beat in 4/4 is played extremely fast, shred guitar solos shouted, often with unmelodious vocals and songwriting which can be described as trying to cram as many riffs as possible in a short span. The themes were not very different from today, with lyrics focusing on violence, war, Satanism, and the Cold War paranoia.

Around the mid ‘80s, Metallica bands started to take elements from the American thrash metal scene, refining the chaotic styles in the process, and creating Crossover Thrash. In a few years, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth became household names for Metal fans worldwide, but was replaced by Grunge and Groove Metal in the 1990s, until the renaissance for thrash in the 2000s.

Thrash metal is considered more aggressive than its relative, speed metal, with significant crossover from one category of metal to the other, and Odium will certainly appeal to thrash fans.

Image credit: metal-archives.com

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