Odious is one of the leading extreme metal Egyptian bands. Their album Skin Age is one of the most awaited album in few years now. Odious recorded their album in different places including Greece with the epic legends Septicflesh members and the FILMharmonic Orchestra of Prague – don’t get confused with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Odious is one of the first bands which combines the harshness of Black Metal music with typical folk/oriental riffs and taste. Skin Age contains 8 tracks, so without further adu, let’s check them.

The album opens with a typical epic symphonic track ‘Crown Of Centuries’. The intro sounds like an intonation for hailing a king, When you listen to the intro, you will strongly believe that it is a symphony not a regular music track. Different levels of strength with a sound of a march procession for offering immolation. Odious perfectly managed the tunes of the guitar with the epic of the orchestral and black metal vocals with the voices of the choirs.

The second track ‘Crystal Clear’ was like an epic tale. It was faster than the previous track, the intro had a strong running heartbeats percussion combined with a soprano scream fighting a beasty guitar shredding. A war within different phases. After listening to the first half of the second track, we thought “Where is the oriental taste of Odious?” Uptil 2:21 we met a wonderful oriental riff that was perfectly mixed with the track epicness. In 3:32 we met another oriental part which acted like an outro for the track. It’s impressive that the track opened with symphonic colors and ended with an oriental taste.

‘A Picture of Dead Art’ had a dynamic symphonic start. It was felt that the track reflects its name. “Symphonies” and “Folk Instruments” became something “Dead”. After this powerful symphonic part, at 1:18 after fractions of a second from the silence we moved to another “death” that was reflected in the great usage of weeping Flute/Nay and Oud. You may laugh at what is coming next but the riffs here made me recall the old movies and series which was featured on the radio. The Classics like The Land movie – AlArd- the famous tale of “Awad” who sold his own land, and the legendary tale of “Adham El Sharkawy”. ‘Picture of Dead Art’ is unlike the previous. It started and ended with symphonic colors.

‘Al Zar’ carried the essence of folk through its name. It began with the oriental taste mixed with the symphonic. 1:08 had nothing but pure oriental; it had a mix of El Tabla, the Oud and Flute/Nay.

‘All The Evidence’ carried a different movement between the symphonic and oriental. Especially the part from 1:53 till 2:13. It had the most perfect, epic and complicated combination that gives you the feeling for head banging and belly dancing at the same time, the great harmony between all the instruments drawing a marvelous piece of art mixture.

‘New Mystery’ carried a different taste, it felt like the enigma of a real mystery. It was like a typical symphony but with different movements. It’s by far the most track with symphonic elements which gives a great oriental taste.

‘Dungeon Keys’ was the first track the band released from this album. It’s one of the richest tracks in Skin Age. It started with harsh beginning of symphonic black then the riffs became even harder and faster. In 1:15 some sort of falling the riffs became slower but with a heavier drums then an impressive oriental part with Tabla and Oud then back again. 2:24 was like an intro for another movement in the track, the tunes of Oud conquered the other instruments sounds, then the role of Flute/Nay attractive catchy impressive part. In 4:09 a typical black symphonic part, ending with a perfect outro with these lines: “the story of every man starts with the same plan of 6 6 6″ with the perfect choir echo.

The last station in this epic journey was ‘Hot Blood Fumes’. It’s one of the fastest harshest tracks. 3:04 counts as the last oriental part of the album, harmony between Oud and guitars and drums.

What an Album. Skin Age is one of the greatest albums in the Egyptian metal history. Odious is not just a strong Black Metal band; it greatly combined the harshness and strength of black metal with epic tunes of Symphony and the warm impressive taste of oriental/folk/classic sounds. Odious managed to revive the classic unique sound of the orient and symphony and mixed them with the modern music black metal -modern means appeared in the 20th century- and put them on the international map. The high talents of Odious appeared completely in composing, harmony and the excellent accuracy in using and recording the lines of their music. The Egyptian metal scene have never been prouder of an Egyptian band. Hats off Odious.

Written by: Mahmoud Ezzat and Rana Atef
Edited by: NJ Bakr