Let’s just cut to the chase – Slice The Cake’s latest effort easily stands among the best albums 2016 has to offer thus far. It may even be a contender for album of the year. This is, for all intents and purposes, a modern metal masterwork. Unfortunately, it also appears to be the band’s last. Reportedly, tensions within the international lineup have reached a breaking point which may never come to heal. A lot of turmoil went into making this record but, interestingly enough, that may be a significant part of what made it so damn incredible in the end. For more insight on this band’s impending end of the line, you may click here.
As for this album… Well, it’s highly recommended that you just go ahead and give this one a listen if you haven’t already. No regrets will come of this. I can just about promise you that. However, if you wish, you may also keep reading to further understand why this album is being so unanimously praised by critics and fans alike right now… Or at least the reasoning from my frail, human perspective… The time has come to embark on an “Odyssey To The West”.
Let it be known that this is quite literally an aural adventure, taking the listener through several chapters of ground shaking excellence as they approach “The Holy Mountain” at the journey’s end. This is not a short venture by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this album consists of 15(!) glorious tracks spanning well over an hour’s run time. This is arguably one of the finest Progressive Death Metal epics to cross the collective ears of the metal community in quite some time. It’s certainly one of the best to ever cross my desk.
This long spanning record is divided into five different acts with stand alone tracks sewn in between and on the journey’s end. It begins with exile, runs through exploration, and concludes in destruction and discovery. Every single step holds its own merit and serves a purpose within the grand scheme of this album. Along the way, several favorites will come forward. Numbers such as the opener “The Exile Part I – The Razor’s Edge”, “Stone and Silver Part II – The Horned God”, “Westward Bound Part I – The Lantern”, “Unending Waltz” and of course the closing track “The Holy Mountain” really highlight the feast that an “Odyssey To The West” has to offer the ears.
The storytelling elements of this album are phenomenal. The experience they bring about boasts mythological proportions. They’re translated partially through intense, dramatic spoken word segments and through the unbelievably awesome musical progression throughout. These elements are expertly placed from the start to the finish of the albums duration, taking the listener through a whole gamut of events and emotion. From love to hatred and triumph to despair, there’s undoubtedly a large slice of soul to be found on “Odyssey To The West”.
The sheer attention to detail and creativity put into every moment of this album is absolutely astounding. The entire effort is bolstered by devilish calculation and angelic beauty to behold. There’s a great balance between the more technical and more organic songwriting making for a cohesive experience. A series of aural peaks and valleys encapsulated in glorious soundscapes and unique musical textures await all listeners who cross paths with this LP.
If this really is to be Slice The Cake’s swan song, it couldn’t be a more appropriate tome to cut off their discography. As mentioned and raved about through this entire review, “Odyssey To The West” is a modern masterpiece. And not merely that… It’s this band’s finest work to date. Furthermore, it’s batshit crazy when you realize how close it was to not happening! Upon listening, you’ll likely be thankful it did.
It’s rough slinging around the word perfect but this album comes pretty damn close when you add up all the factors. Objectively, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – too long for some and maybe even too dramatic for the faint of heart. But the insane amount of work and talent that went into this project is undeniable. That being the case, I won’t lose any sleep by giving Slice The Cake’s “Odyssey To The West” a rare 10 out of 10 rating! Congratulations to them for creating such a monster of a memorable album.
The entirety of this record is currently streaming in multiple locations from YouTube to Bandcamp. You can support the band by purchasing the album on the later of those two. Any and all support is very well deserved by these artists. We wish all of them the best in the future as they move onto new things. That’s all, my friends. Take care and enjoy the music \m/