Aug 092023

Today we are most happy to revisit the music of the German band Orphalis after spending a lot of time with them around the release of their second album The Birth of Infinity back in 2016. Shame on us for not paying nearly as much attention to their third album, 2019’s The Approaching Darkness — definitely a case of oversight rather than dissatisfaction.

What brings us back to them again today is the rapidly approaching advent of the band’s fourth album, As the Ashes Settle, which is set for release by Transcending Obscurity Records on August 25th, and more specifically our premiere of an extravagant new song from the album named “Staring Into Ruin“.

The music of Orphalis occupies an intersection of technical death metal and brutal death metal, but there’s a third road that crosses as well — a facility for bring evocative and captivating melody into the mix, a facility for mood-alteration that’s often missing in the music of other bands who earn their bread bludgeoning and ejecting notes and beats at a high rate of speed. The song we’re presenting today is a great example of what we’re trying to say.

There’s no intro to this new song at all. Without pause it throws us into the lion’s den, though it sounds more like an enraged bear is growling in our faces while something else is throwing boulders at us and other things are whining and screaming. Those other things would be a ruthlessly battering percussionist, a spine-shaking bassist, and guitarists bent on mayhem.

The riffing seethes, shimmers, and darts with manic energy but surgical precision, and the moods morph constantly. Swirling leads seem magically inviting, but as the bass clangs and slugs the music also descends into feelings of eerie, moaning misery, entirely in keeping with the song’s title; other guitar frenzies seem to portray desperation; and brilliantly gleaming melodic solos spiral in startling fashion into visions of haunting splendor.

The rhythm section continue switching things up too, as the drums inject martial beats and spit bullets like a machine-pistol while the guitars cavort and careen and the vocals scream as well as roar.

Transcending Obscurity makes the point in their PR materials that the music on the new Orpahlis album “is astonishingly fluid given its dynamic and multifaceted nature”. This song by itself proves the truth of that assertion.

Like this one song, the whole album will keep you on your toes, or at least perched on the edge of your seats. Yes, it will give you a vigorous beating and viciously slice and dice you, but it’s equally capable of mesmerizing, somehow elegant as well as barbaric, and a den of surprises galore (as well as lions and bears).

Thomas Szczecina – Vocals
Jens Dürholt – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Morten Formeseyn – Guitars
Thomas Köhler – Bass
Phillip Hatcher – Drums

Adam Burke has again created a masterful piece of cover art, and what he’s done for this album is fitting for its often beleaguered themes. It adorns the 8-panel digipack CD edition of the album and the very wide variety of apparel and other merch that Transcending Obscurity is offering for sale. You can inspect those offerings via the links below, and if you head over to Transcending Obscurity‘s Bandcamp page for this marvelous beast of an album you can listen to four other songs barely confined within it.

T.O. recommends As the Ashes Settle for fans of Psycroptic, Benighted, Cutterred Flesh, Aborted, Monument of Misanthropy, and Enragement.



 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.