By Shirin Hodgson-Watt
I love O’Deus, and I really loved Ryan Katz as a frontman, so I was uneasy when I heard he’d departed the fold and that they were on the lookout for someone to step into his pretty intimidating shoes. However, I was curious also, as I had a hunch they were far too smart a band to screw up the tricky transition to a new vocalist, a hunch they soon gratifyingly lived up to. Their decision to opt for Amy Abbott was genuinely inspired, preventing obvious lazy comparisons to Katz, whilst also proving them to be boldly open minded about where their next chapter might lead them.
‘Seven Cycles Down’ straddles the old and new with aplomb, the connection to the band’s past incarnation rock solid (daringly illustrated by their reimagining of ‘Culture Vulture’ and ‘Space Fire’ from the ‘Code To Living’ EP, rendered gleamingly anew by delicious dark sorcery into ‘Wasteland’ and ‘Into The Zion’, the latter expanding upon the Warrior Soul-esque trippiness that I fell so utterly headlong in love with first time around. Which means they’re now indulging me with two entirely different sides to the same magical coin, which, as I’m very greedy, quite honestly made my day, and is still making it every time I listen to it.
The comforting familiarity of their lolloping stoner / grunge riffs of yore hits like a perversely welcome tidal wave, riding an undercurrent of reassuringly old school bluesy rock n’ roll, via the occasional flash of a less-fury fuelled Rage Against The Machine (well, they are from Cornwall), while Amy’s strong but clear vocals add a new and exciting dimension to the band’s sound across the six tracks on offer here.
I was always disappointed to have only caught O’Deus (version: one) live once; I’m dearly hoping I can do a whole lot better with version two. ‘Seven Cycles Down’ beckons all-too seductively to somewhere hitherto unknown that I desperately want to go.