Album Reviews

Odin’s Court – Turtles All The Way Down

Odin’s Court is a Maryland, USA band that was formed by vocalist/guitarist Matt Brookins in 2001. The band is best described as rock & metal, fusing classic and modern sounds that transcend several genres. They have released 4 CDs worldwide and done touring in the United States. For the first 7 years of its existence, the band was independent, self-financing 3 albums (2002 demo Odin’s Court, 2003 album Driven by Fate, and 2005 album ReDriven by Fate). In 2008, Odin’s Court signed with ProgRock Records, and has since released 4 albums through PRR and their partner labels worldwide.

After a four year wait the band is set to release their latest prog rock opus the curiously titled Turtles All The Way Down. When researching the album titles origins, I learned that that “Turtles all the way down” is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology posed by the “unmoved mover” paradox. The metaphor in the anecdote represents a popular notion of the myth that Earth is actually flat and is supported on the back of a World Turtle, which itself is propped up by a chain of larger and larger turtles. Questioning what the final turtle might be standing on, the anecdote humorously concludes that it is “turtles all the way down”. Pretty heady stuff for a progressive rock band! Color me intrigued!

I have been familiar with the band for some time, however aside from a few songs, I had never had the opportunity to sit down and listen to a full Odin’s Court album until now. The bands sound is less “metal” and more melodic hard rock with progressive leanings. Musically, the vocal harmonies, guitar riffs, and chord phrasing are reminiscent of King’s X (one of my all time favorites). The title track is broken up into three parts throughout the album: Universe, Life, and Everything. And The Answer Is… kicks things off with a funky riff with progressive time changes. Vocalist Dimetrius LaFavors has a pleasant melodic voice, but there is something odd about his tone that I can’t quite pin down, not bad necessarily, just quirky. …But What’s The Question? continues the crunchy melodic rock with another great guitar riff and melody.

One of the standout tracks to me is (A Song For) Dragons. While the title brings to mind Dio-esque power metal, the song is actually a slow piano laden mid-tempo soulful quasi-ballad, although I hate to use the term ballad when describing this song. The vocals are powerful and LaFavors best performance on the album. The guitar work is stellar with some stunningly crystalline solo work from Brookins and fellow guitarist Rick Pierpont. The acappella three part vocal harmony intro, metal riffage, and driving double bass drumming on The Death Of A Sun brings classic Galactic Cowboys to mind.

The band saves the best for last with its most progressive as well as metal sounding track, the seventeen-minute plus opus Box of Dice (Does God Play?). The songs has plenty of lead guitar and frenzied keyboard interplay with odd-time signatures, and LaFavors lead vocals work extremely well here as do the three part vocal harmonies and Brookins aggressive vocals weaved into the fray.

Odin’s Court have crafted a classy and enjoyable album that may not win over the metal elite but most mainstream hard rock fans would enjoy Turtles All The Way Down and the band add just enough progressive elements to please the ever elusive “Prog Snobs”.

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