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Immortalized for all the wrong reasons by Penelope Spheeris' gloriously decadent The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization, Pt. 2: The Metal Years, Los Angeles heavy metal outfit Odin had, in contrast, enjoyed a surprising amount of respect in previous years, when they were one of the city's fastest-rising cult acts. In fact, endlessly shifting lineups may have been the band's greatest weakness (early Metallica guitarist Damien C. Phillips, aka Brad Parker, played on Odin's debut EP, Caution, in 1983), and when then members Randy 'O' Roberg (vocals), Jeff Duncan (guitar), Aaron Samson (bass), and Shawn Duncan (drums) followed their promising 1985 EP Don't Take No for an Answer with that infamous silver screen appearance, all hope of credibility was irretrievably lost. Before that unfortunate publicity, it was easy to compare Odin's traditional-metal-sound-gone-to-glam-hell (where solid musicianship and songwriting instincts were derailed by bad taste and a terrible lead vocalist) with the direction-deficient, pre-Anselmo Pantera. And as further proof of the era's hopelessly skewed musical values, it was precisely Randy O who eventually made off with a solo deal (ultimately fruitless) from Atlantic Records, while Jeff Duncan wallowed in obscurity before finding a worthy showcase for his talents with the revitalized Armored Saint. As for Odin, their EPs and assorted singles were eventually compiled into two separate CD releases by Perris Records (Fight for Your Life and By the Gods -- both 2001), and the "classic" lineup continues to re-form for one-off celebratory gigs now and then. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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