"We need to look deep into the abyss and jump head first into the darkest substance ever known" says Odonis Odonis's Dean Tzenos. He's talking about 'Vanta Black', one of the ten pieces of industrial noise that make up Post Plague. But he could so easily be describing the rest of the album too.
Now three albums into their career, it's been a long and times rocky road for the Toronto trio to get to where they are now. But if Post Plague is anything to go by, also substantially rewarding. Indeed, recalling my first encounter with the band at The Great Escape festival in Brighton four years ago, Odonis Odonis were a very different animal to the one that stands proudly before us today. At the time heavy of guitar and in thrall to as many effects pedals as it were possible to fit across a stage, comparisons with A Place To Bury Strangers weren't wide of the mark, if a little premature.
While both of Post Plague's predecessors focused on extracting as much visceral noise from whatever instrumentation Odonis Odonis could get their hands on, its creators have taken a different approach here. While the decibel levels haven't exactly been reduced - and shards of noise punctuate parts of Post Plague's indelible core - this is an altogether more industrial beast. One which could quite easily have been sat in a time machine for the last three decades rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ministry, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. Yet like contemporaries such as HEALTH, they've managed to conjure up something entirely fresh and unique of their own doing, albeit referencing an era that introduced the world to dark electronica in the first instance.
It's difficult to comprehend what inspires Tzenos and fellow sonic terrorists Denholm Whale and Jarod Gibson's apocalyptic desires, but Post Plague clearly fulfils them at every nascent twist and turn. Opener 'Fearless' starts off like a Chemical Brothers intro, deceptive as that may be. For what's contained within constitutes anything but a party rave anthem. Tzenos's vocal part take it into HEALTH territory while Whale's domineering bassline keeps one eye firmly fixed on the death disco dancefloor.
"I've got needs" insists the diminutive frontman on 'Needs', which could be a Depeche Mode outtake re-envisaged through a sandblaster. Bombastic in execution and intensely delivered, it sets the scene for the rest of Post Plague's ornately futuristic vision. "You can wait but you know you'll never be sure" declares Tzenos on 'That's How It Goes', one of Post Plague's less aggressive sonic textures. Flirting with the new wave template first engineered by Joy Division back in the late 1970s, Odonis Odonis clearly feel comfortable in these territories as they pop up at a similar juncture on both 'Game' and 'Vanta Black' during the second half of Post Plague. While the former can be described as eerie noise pop, the latter applies fast and furious beats over an ever-changing synthesized tempo that also recalls Cabaret Voltaire at their most affluent, Tzenos insisting "No one ever thinks about it" at the song's coda.
Kathryn Calder from The New Pornographers pops up for a guest vocal contribution on 'Pencils', arguably the least accessible of Post Plague's wares due to its somewhat disjointed, discordant nature. Those familiar with the Odonis Odonis of old will be taken aback by 'Betrayal', a feral all-out sonic assault that could easily have sat on 2011's debut Hollandaze, While album midpoint 'BLTZ' also takes an abrasive ride through its creators sonic palette.
It's at Post Plague's finale where Odonis Odonis reveal their inner brittleness. "I just want some lust, to knock me off my feet" sings Tzenos over a louche groove that isn't a million miles away from Fat White Family's 'Touch The Leather'. Erotic yet menacing, dirty yet intrinsically clean, it sounds like nothing else on Post Plague or anywhere else in Odonis Odonis' locker. But drops a possible hint as to where their future direction is headed. However, Post Plague provides the perfect soundtrack to an incendiary apocalypse only its creators could foresee. On this evidence, the invitation to join them is seductively tempting.
8Dom Gourlay's Score