On the 18th of August Orbit Culture‘s are releasing their 5th album “Descent”, which marks for sure marks a great milestone in the band’s career. Released in the year of Orbit Culture‘s 10th anniversary the band releases the album so blasting and powerful, that we have no doubt left that after years of hard and passionate work, the band has finally found their true sound and is quite confident about the direction they take. So let’s dive into the dark and mysterious metal soundscape of “Descent” to check it out.
This is by far the most ambient Orbit Culture‘s album by far. It’s filled with muted symphonies here and there, as well as mysterious sounds that add that volume and multilayerdness to the album, that’s primarily all about riffs and drums. It starts with an instrumental intro “Descending” that creeps in from the depths of nowhere and could easily become some top game soundtrack. Then “Black Mountain” follows with a storm-like shredding riffs and “boulders falling down during the earthquake” drums. After such a rumbling intro we are introduced to the echoed choir, accompanied by the sound of something that seems like a real storm recording. From the very first song, you get the feeling as if you witness the rageful might of nature, and this feeling will be following you throughout the album. Drums that play the leading role, go here as crazy as possible.
While the next song, “Sorrower”, is much more of a groovy piece with roars accompanied by sympho parts in the background. At first, I decided to avoid comparing the clean vocals of Niklas Karlsson with James Hetfield by any means in this review, but already in the second song (at 3.20-42 to be even more precise) the resemblance just blew the hell out of my mind, okay?! “Sorrower” is marked by a silent and acoustic moment in the second part of the song – obviously, for you to take a breath to experience the double might of the heavy part that follows further. And this song won’t let you go easily, as it comes back with an epic outro – monotonous a bit, but with a blast beat and growing sympho arrangements and a choir. Sounds pretty sinister.
The notable feature of this album is that, on one hand, all instruments are mixed into a mighty sound avalanche, yet, on another, every single instrument or sound is vividly heard. The finest example of such a cool paradox is the single “From The Inside”, with the interaction of riffs, insane drums, and vocals kicking in like with a boom! Gotta say that sympho elements are balanced with rough guitar sound in unequal proportions, they are pretty muted and are not “in the face”. Here we have one more acoustic “silent” pause to amplify the second part of the song and pauses. Pauses that again don`t let go, I swear these guys took the metal song outros to a whole new level.
“Vultures Of North” starts with interrupted riffs, which at first produces the impression of the engine turning on, but when it’s on – it speeds up and keeps an extremely flamboyant pace. This mechanical repetedness makes truly a hypnotic effect. Then everything turns into marching with those storm/wave sounds in the background. I foretell the pure madness in the crowd during the live performance of this song, as this song resembles some wild ritual forest dances in its spirit.
And as long as we’ve already started dancing in the previous song, “Alienated” will help us keep this vibe further. Curiously, the pace here is even wilder in the beginning, but then the rhythm gets more “formed”, predictable, and bouncy. This is the shortest yet very energetic song with riffs a-la jackhammer, those already signature strange noises, and roll call with the crowd.
“The Aisle Of Fire” has a solemn symphonic beginning, which makes the impression as if it’s a ballad at first. High-pitched riffs crash like waves, another association with the force of nature in the shape of a song. And that is one of the most perfect contradictions that this album represents in the atmosphere – it’s the enchanting interlacing of mechanical and natural; of the might of working engines and the rage of natural happenings.
In “Undercity” we hear the longest and most monotonous intro ever. Also, it’s the first time when we hear the bass line so vividly, and the echoed vocals produce the impression of being underground for real. In the middle of the song, we experience the real earthquake of drums. and the closing part of the song slightly turns its mood to “light”, kinda we get out from the underground to see the daylight.
The title track,“Descent”, tells a very multifaceted story musically, and the volume of the song is beyond anything I’ve heard in a while. It’s filled with screeching sounds, that bounce from ear to ear, so I hope you all hear the album in good quality to catch all those little details.
The closing track “Through Time” starts with something that sounds like very ambient cellos and seems to be the most light-filled song on the album. The soft-spoken vocals, accompanied by the choir, turn into a yell. The powerful chorus goes silent again, and the primary acoustic now is framed with bass and drums. This song reminded me of another great band – Insomnium, cause it’s usually them who are the masters of portraying the metal landscapes of snowstorms in the night forest, that slowly go down and soon the polar lights start brightening up the night sky, and your way. That’s how the album ends – with calm, bright yet a bit gloomy tunes..
I must say it’s been a while since I was so stunned by any album ever, cause if you start analyzing – “Descent” is pretty minimalistic, it doesn’t have any super complicated solos and unpredictable rhythmical patterns, yet the drums and riffs here are mesmerizing. Symphonic elements of this record don’t make it less harsh, they underline the harshness and, being combined with various mysterious sounds, produce something that makes this album absolutely unique.