Formed from the ashes of Spiral Architect, Terra Odium is a prog metal band from Norway. Their debut album features some strong technical playing displayed across seven lengthy arrangements. For the more forgiving fans of the style, this will be enough for ‘Ne Plus Ultra’ to be reasonably entertaining. For other listeners who expect flashy solos and other indulgences to be balanced out by memorable songs and important things like actual melodies, the near-hour of relentless riffing will wear thin rather quickly.
Unfortunately, despite very obviously being able to play, Terra Odium also seem painfully unaware of most of the genre’s developments in the twenty first century. This album shows no obvious knowledge of the dark riffs of Awooga, the technical mechanics of Tool or even the complexities of a newer breed such as TesseracT. There are a few fantastically heavy moments that show a modicum of bravery – especially for a band signed to a melodic rock label – but approximately half of the material merely beavers away relentlessly, as if played by men with beards and leather trousers who still consider Symphony X’s ‘The Odyssey’ – at this point almost twenty years old – to be ground breaking.