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Odin’s Court - Turtles All the Way Down cover

When Odin’s Court bandleader Matt Brookins got in touch regarding their newest release, the title instantly caused me to perk up – Turtles All the Way Down? The age-old dilemma of first cause explanations is something I’m familiar with through the writings of Stephen Hawking & Richard Dawkins, but having it approached musically is definitely not something I’d seen before!

Heady stuff indeed, but the big surprise is how effortlessly they incorporated such a grand concept into the album (by way of contrast, Ayreon’s The Theory of Everything dealt more with the characters than the scientific concepts in a hit-and-miss rock opera). Divided into three parts (Universe, Life, Everything), the compositions address various questions that have concerned mankind throughout history – Why are we here? Is this an accident, or is there some grander plan that brought us here? More importantly, can these questions even be answered by science alone? In the end, no matter how clever we think we are, “it’s turtles all the way down” is probably as good an explanation as any.

Musically, the band covers a lot of ground with equal aplomb; from Matt Brookins' David Gilmour influenced opening solo on “Turtles All the Way Down, Pt. 1” to the powerful 17 minute closing track “Box of Dice (Does God Play?)”.   One of the real highlights along the way is the ballad “(A Song for) Dragons”, in which new vocalist Dimetrius LaFavors showcases his impressive Steve Perry-like range over a simple background consisting mostly of acoustic guitar and piano.

Turtles All the Way Down is a truly impressive effort, with solid songwriting and outstanding musicianship. The vocal arrangements are impeccable, the guitar work from both Matt and Rick Pierpont is top notch, and nowhere is there an instance of chops overshadowing the compositions – a mistake so many groups make in an effort to impress. Although the band’s influences (Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, and Kings X come to mind) are occasionally worn on the sleeve, they distill them into a unique sound, especially in the lead and harmony vocal work.

Although they have been covered by usaprog previously, Odin’s Court is a new group for me, and a very welcome one at that. Turtles All the Way Down is terrific melodic prog/metal that gets better with repeated listening, and I couldn’t be prouder to have them as our first album review of 2015.

PersonnelMatt Brookins: Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Backing and Lead Vocals, Bass, Programming, Drums, Percussion, and Sound Effects 

Rick Pierpont: Electric Guitars, Backing Vocals 

Dimetrius LaFavors: Lead Vocals

Additional contributions by: John Abella, Nicki Brookins, Matt Knight, Seth Jackson, Jeff Sauber, Craig Jackson, and Savino Palumbo

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