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It’s been a week or so since the Bulgarian quartet Odd Crew, which has been together since 1998, released their latest album, “Mark These Words”. It’s their forth effort under that alias but who counts them anyway. On “Mark These Words” Boyan “Bonzy” Georgiev deliveres the drums, Vasil Raykov screams and shouts as usual, Vasil Parvanovski is the one behind the solo strings, while Martin Stoyanov takes the control of the lows, both as the backing vocalist and the bass player.
With the “Words” Odd Crew keeps on seeking their own path in a metal market subdivided and sullied between cliché forms. And it’s a path strewn with tons of difficulties, downs and ups in every single aspect of life (both personally and professionally). Three years since their third album, Odd Crew have been through hell and back in order to release their forth – they got their US visa cancelation just a week before their fly took off, then they had to fight to find a new producer and a studio (another last minute call), then to find a way to go to Sweden unobstructed, where they eventually recorded it, just to name a few. But once you hear the album, you’ll be like “oh, holy cow, it was fucking worth it!”. Why? Keep reading to find out!
The album’s eponymous song is the opener here. The moment you hear the first twenty seconds, you are already hooked, there’s only one way out, as the curly vocalist sings – to lay back and to listen to the entire album. As one can expects – in complete awe! The crunch comes in full force with Raykov’s clanging voice, leading up to a gorgeous guitar solo from Odd Crew’s guitarist, Vasil Parvanovski. “Lay On Me” was released approximately 2 months prior to the album’s release and mixes both the heaviness and speed of the Odd Crew’s 3rd album, “Beyond the Shell”, and that unique softness they are well-known for. “Dead Man’s Eyes”, similarly to “Lay On Me”, comprises the two specters of the band’s aggressiveness and, um, friendliness, figuratively speaking. “The More in Me” is one of those Odd Crew staples where slow introductory rhythms are almost immediately sodomized by a blast section followed by a thrash breakaway and then mid-tempo trudges, repeat all modes accordingly.
One of the longest songs, despite being only 4.07 long, “Shapes in Grey”, is luxuriant and entrancing as it is murky. The song is chocked with a methodic rage that escalates to a beauteous finale. The song is followed by the explosive “We the Fallen” which is fast, aggressive and belligerent. The last song of “Mark These Words” is the Odd Crew’s voice of anger. “In My Dying Time” is marked by furious riffs, angry-yet-catchy choruses and dynamic arrangement. It grabs you by the throat and throws you into the wall. Ruthlessly.
All in all, the album kicks asses! Big time! Odd Crew really nailed it this time. Where production, songwriting, performance, structure, and sheer, stripped-down emotion and aggression are concerned, I’ll put “Mark These Words” on top of my shelf for quite some time. And repeat it over and over again. This is the product of a band that knows exactly who they are as musicians and writes confidently and accordingly because of that fact. The only reason I believe that’s not their best album (yet, just to be clear) is that I know them personally and I am confident that “Mark These Words” is just a fraction of what they are capable of.