It's a rarity these days to see a CD-single, so this one already made me happy due to its mere existence when I received it. Gotham O.D is a Finnish band that plays melodic and melancholic metal/rock. The band has done a couple hundred gigs, two full-length albums and three demo/EPs since their forming in 2003 - and yet, this is the first time I remember hearing the group's music.

Gotham O.D's music indeed has a melancholic and even dramatic undercurrent, but, instead of weeping in the room's dark corner, the band's made some rather hopeful and even enpowering songs about their anguish. The opener goes forward with some tasteful backing synths supporting the guitars, and with heavy but not overruling emphasis on the slow but excellently melodic chorus. "Escape to Salvation" has a really tasty build-up, and it along with the ending's extended and heavier version of the chorus shows how much effort has been put into the song. The soundscape is in full balance as well; soft and harsh, melodic and rocking. The catchy chorus is bound to keep you listening to the song, and soon enough you'll start noticing its other hooks too. Bonus points for the synths' sounds and melodies.

"In a Shell" opens up with some cheery hammond-esque synths and straightforward rocking, but after half a minute it succumbs into just vocals and bass taking care of the song's progress. The strong and sturdy drums return to give the song a kick until the strong pop-rock-chorus appears as a sudden grandiose, until the vocals and bass are again solely responsible for the song's drive. The song has some really bold and stylish switches between minimalism and bolder rocking, and although it's way easier a song for the listener than the opener and thus wears out faster, it's a really pleasing tune that demonstrates the skills of a bold band with no insecurities. One more thing it showcases is the strength and charisma in the vocalist's deep and somewhat dark voice, which suits both the minimalistic and more grandeous parts, as well as the melodic and poppy ones.

The joy of playing is present on this single, which is a feat already on its own. The songs are good and original enough, and well enough ambitions to sound pleasing to my ears. Even the cover artwork looks really good for a single. I'm not generally a sucker for music like this, but if the band's upcoming third album lives up to the expectations given by this single, it seems I'll have to check it out. Recommended for people into melodic and somewhat poppy rock.

9- / 10