Utstøtt – Legender Odin (Self-released)

Sunday, 18th May 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Oregon’s Utstøtt is a one-man black metal band entirely self-managed, completely independent with no record label, and untainted without outside contaminations or alterations from additional musicians, mixers, or writers. Utstøtt’s epic Viking-esque black metal is all wrung from the mind, body, and soul of one and only member, Navnløs. Back in 2013, he presented his impressive demo EP, Legender Odin.

Legender Odin will take you away. That is, away from one point to another, from one style to another, and can even sneakily shift your mind’s attention away from worries and such. “Slaget om Odin og Fenrir” leads the way through this velvety passage. The first several seconds make an incredibly deceiving introduction to both the song and album, which is quite clear the moment the introduction melody drops and Navnløs begins screaming out valiant lyrical verses. Different from the other three, the semi-experimental piece, “Oppstigning av Einherjar,” curiously skulks in a shadowy spectrum of sounds varying between operatic, orchestral, and epic. With only four titles, it’s a bold move to include a song like that, but it has an attractive quality, so it passes.

Sometimes the music’s dark and heavy, even with the sprightly tempos, other times it’s fair and elegant, and occasionally graceful and agile. But what we don’t see is the same variation in vocals, which is favorable because Navnløs harsh, raw, earthy sounding voice is stunning. However, it would be ideal if the vocals were recorded a tad louder so that the reckless tolls of percussion didn’t overpower them as much.

The transitions from acoustic Scandinavian-like folk tunes to blackened epic metal, and visa-versa, are so smooth you’ll hardly feel the change in tempo. Legender Odin is a short, smooth flowing, and satisfying listen, so there’s no reason to ever listen it any other way than all the way from beginning to end, if you want to get a full taste of what Utstøtt has got. Fans of one-man black metal projects like Coldworld, Lustre, and Taake are especially advised to take notice of Utstøtt. Be sure to look out for the forthcoming full-length album, Hjørungavågr.

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