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Orne The Tree Of Life album cover
3.52 | 33 ratings | 6 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Angel Eyes (3:15)
2. The Temple of the Worm (12:10)
3. The Return of the Sorcerer (7:41)
4. Don't Look Now (8:41)
5. Beloved Dead (5:46)
6. I Was Made Upon Waters (6:53)
7. Sephira (5.22)

Total Time 49:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Kimi Kärki aka Peter / guitars
- Pirkka Leino / organ, Rhodes piano
- Jari Pohjonen a.k.a. J. Lovely a.k.a. Void / drums, percussion
- Timo Oksanen/ flute
- Jaakko Penttinen / bass guitar
- Pekka Pitkälä / guitars
- Sami Albert "Witchfinder" Hynninen / vocals

Guest members:
- Lea Tommola / saxophone
- Patrick Walker / spoken word

Releases information

Artwork: Detail of a painting by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908).

Thanks to Formentera Lady for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ORNE The Tree Of Life ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ORNE The Tree Of Life reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Like fog drifting through the boneyards...

Black Widow Records is one of the few labels which practically creates its own sound genre, they are the purveyors of the "dark" sound, when this album starts you immediately thing of Black Widow. While known for fielding Italian bands across many genres the roster does have talent outside of Italy, and Orne would be one. Orne hails from Turku, Finland, and several members of the project are well known for their participation in the band Reverend Bizarre. Their influences are noted as VDGG, early Genesis, early Floyd, Black Widow, Black Sabbath, Saturnalia, and Wigwam amongst many others, though it should be pointed out that a good deal of the album is much mellower than some of the heavy/hard bands noted above. It has some heaviness but extended mellow sections as well. If you can imagine a mix of "Careful with that Axe, Eugene", "The End," and "The Herald," all processed through a doom-rock filter, you might have an idea what to expect.

The Tree of Life is an intimate album filled with memorable and unique music. I might describe their sound as a slow, atmospheric doom with mellow psych, occasional folk, and retro-heavy prog. Slow, brooding tracks are heavy with classic organ, acoustic guitar, and occasional hard rock chug. The songs are thick with moody, ominous, haunting atmosphere and a damp woodland feel, like some moonlit ritual with Satyrs running around through the brush, chunks of meat smoking on the fire, maidens rife with amulets and spells. A great album to bring to the Renaissance Festival...but I digress. Like their label mates Goad and Jacula, Orne is a band in their own strange world. The vocalist has this thin, odd voice that works perfectly as a master of ceremonies cloaked in long robes. The acoustic guitars lay down beautiful melodies over the organ, very mellow with psych touches, then it slowly builds into a more muscular hard rock with distorted power chords, pounding organ, and fine drumming. But my favorite part of the album is simply the feeling you get listening to the more subdued moments, it's a strange, disorienting, somewhat sinister vibe like you get with Comus or Goad. The album's highlight is the 12-minute "The Temple of the Worm" which has some great alluring flute and melancholic guitar leads, just a fantastic track.

Recommended to fans of the Black Widow Records sound, and those who love retro organ doom-rock with lots of atmosphere. 3 1/2 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'The Tree Of Life' - Orne (8/10)

There is certainly no rule saying that prog rock has to be cheery, but many of the modern prog bands I have come across pass me as being rather upbeat. Of course, it may simply be where I'm coming from as a listener, but there doesn't seem to be much room for bands like Beardfish and Sky Architect on a sombre, rainy day. The melancholic is often an aspect of prog music, but seldom does it become such a forefront of the sound as it is on Orne's 'The Tree Of Life'. These Finnish rockers have taken the classic sounds of prog rock and filtered it through a cynical, depressing tone. Of course, this approach could have resulted in a shaccrine and adolescent endeavour, but 'The Tree Of Life' is ultimately one of the most moving albums I have heard in the classic prog style this year.

Many reviewing this album before me have described this album as having ties with doom metal; as far a style from prog as ice cream is from FBI torture techniques. Even so, 'The Tree Of Life' is dominated by downtempo musical ideas; Orne never lets their music get too excited or energetic. This results in a dreary, introspective mood, the likes of which could be compared to Van Der Graaf Generator, a band whose influence shows clearly in Orne. Those expecting a vintage prog album in the vintage style will come out puzzled; while the band uses the sounds of classic acts (particularly Pink Floyd), the compositions skirt away from displays of technical virtuosity or anything of that matter. For that, Orne mange to find a sound that is very much their own.

As I mentioned, Pink Floyd is a major influence on the band's sound. There are plenty of soft explorations with the organs and guitars, and I get a natural, even pastoral sense of atmosphere from Orne's palette of sound. The voice of Sami Heinninen is low and brooding, and the lyrics are introspective and poetic to match. A possible gripe with the set-up that proggers may, and possibly will have with 'The Tree Of Life' is the fact that it is a fairly slow album. With that in mind, it can also come across as boring if a listener isn't in the mood for it. Regardless, Orne is a pleasant musical surprise on my end, and while certainly not for everyone, I can see myself returning to the powerful music of this band in the future.

Review by Guldbamsen
3 stars Enter the crypt

It has been said before, but you can really hear and feel whenever you're listening to a Black Widow Records affiliate. There is a prevailing sombre and Gothic vibe to these acts that mostly come off sounding appropriately dark and menacing in all the right ways, instead of mimicking the sort of frights and terrors you get from a slice and dice horror movie with big breasted females and the mute axe killer with a limp.

Orne is no exception to this rule, and once you've ventured but a few seconds into this their second outing, it becomes apparent just how much these Gothic black sinister atmospheres play into the thing. My fellow reviewer from the Italian quarters Finnforest describes this as some kind of fog drifting through bone-yards, and I can perfectly follow his association. To tell you the truth, I was picturing something similar the first time I popped this mother on the stereo. The switch from doom metal band to sombre Gothic prog rock band is clearly still reverberating within Finnish act Orne, manifesting itself in the moods of the melancholic guitar glissandi, the pitch black plowing of the bass and the ancient cabinet organs taken directly from the Pharaoh's crypt.

The one thing that to me drives this album is those organs. They sound like a mixture of the aforementioned last resting place of the Egyptian rulers, but adding to that slightly bonkers metaphor there is something futuristic happening as well. Deep within the signal of this instrument lies a fluttering firefly - a fencing laser beam - a sonic sword that oscillates accordingly to what the organ is doing at any given moment. It brings something new to this ancient horror movie antiquity, and furthermore had me listening like a man trying to emulate one of those pictures that once were taken of John Lennon kneeling down in New York with a stethoscope to the ground - trying with all his might to tell what was wrong with the world at the time. Just from the top of my head: I am thinking a lot, but I digress...

You can really picture and feel how the metal got dropped in favour of the bitter-sweet sounds of this current formation. The picture here at PA says it all really, as the guys still wear big crosses, black shirts and loooong hair. The power of metal is still there in the drum pedals and the guitars, although they're harnessed and kept under wraps - amounting to the kind of atmosphere you'd get on an early Metallica ballad like Fade to Black - only bereft of the explosions.

Together with the horror cabinet soundtrack of the organs - there is indeed a melancholic vibe going on here that more than often takes me to Sweden and bands like Anekdoten and Morte Macabre. We are becoming increasingly skilled in conveying the hollow winds and freezing colds of our changing weathers up here in Scandinavia, and Orne are certainly no slouches in this department either. I get images of abandoned cathedrals, howling wolfs in the snow and a sense of unearthly bond with the black beauty of night that quite entrancingly marries together with the overall ambiance of the band.

Gluing all of these wild images together is one heck of a booming voice. Oh yeah I nearly got you going there - thinking this release was all instrumental, but you'd be wrong... Somewhere between Jim Morrison, Brendan Perry and Patric Helje off Landberk lies vocalist Sami Albert "Witchfinder" Hynninen. Even if he reminds me a bit of all those singers, it still doesn't truly forward the uniqueness of this man's vibe. First time I heard his vocals, I was somewhat dumbstruck and felt the whole thing getting a tad too Gothic for its own good. Maybe I am a purist of some sort, but there are only a few singers who have been successful with that special manly clean-breasted voice, that sounds like impending doom and bellowing Nordic deities all at the same time, and those are the aforementioned vocalists, maybe excluding Helje on this one because he wields a feminine touch as well that doesn't really go hand in hand with what I am getting at here, - and the original lord of boom: Frank Sinatra. I have since then warmed up to Hynninen's timbre, and now it is an irreplaceable part of the equation.

The Witchfinder here does add a sombre groove to the proceedings with his dark and warm voice, which contradicts the cold hard Scandinavian nature of the music, but, and here I am speaking entirely out of preference, sometimes it gets a bit too much for this listener. My favourite tracks on here, where the marriage between music and vocals truly takes off, are the shorter ones called Don't Look Now and the following Beloved Dead.

Tree of Life is heartily recommended to fans of the bitter-sweet side of Porcupine Tree, the ghastly cold of Anekdoten and the stark black beauty of the Scandinavian night. 3.5 stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Orne is a band from Finland that has been around since the last decade, and in 2011 released their second studio album entitled "Tree of Life" which was released via Black Widow Records, that great Italian label whose bands (almost all) own an inherent heavy sound in their music, Orne is not the exception. In this album they offer nine compositions that make a total time of 49 minutes in which one can listen to a blend of prog rock styles, taking symphonic, heavy and even psych in some passages, so the eclectic tag is great here.

It opens with "Angel Eyes" whose first minute has spoken word by a male voice, taking us to the past and those mediaeval times. Later a dark atmosphere is created by keyboards, while drums, bass and guitar produce a soft sound that really suits in this structure. This track leads to "The Temple of the Worm" which is the longest track, surpassing the twelve- minute mark. Delicate guitar notes open this song later the other instruments are joining and making a progression little by little, with a notable flute sound, by the way. Before the third minute the vocals appear for the first time creating a mellow tune that perfectly complements the music. The song is flowing and changing while the minutes pass, there are some heavier passages and some more delicate ones, in moments the keyboards increase the intensity, in others guitar and flute put the beauty. The last minutes are rockier, dynamic and very cool.

"The Return of the Sorcerer" opens again with a delicate passage where we can appreciate that exquisite flute. The drums works is pretty nice, playing with the rhythm, managing the time and making it own. Later the delicate voice joins and all together flow like water, telling us its story. "Don't Look Now" has some friendly guitar notes at first and later vocals enter with more intensity than in the previous tracks, however the music is not that intense, it is soft and delicate, with charming atmospheres. A couple of minutes later the drummer give us once again a great performance, I really love his work. Some nice bass notes continue for some seconds, but the music returns to its original form. After five minutes it changes, turns faster and with more energy, and offering a keyboard feast in the last moments.

"Beloved Dead" starts with acoustic guitar that creates a repetitive structure, seconds later the voice joins and together produce a smooth sound; then drums and keyboards join and take me to the 70s, more specific to the KC Lizard era. After three minutes the direction changes, the mellow sound vanishes and now a much rockier tune is offered, taking us to the heavy prog realm, with obvious 70s reminiscences, once again. "I was made upon waters" starts with the voice singing in a rock way, but they disappear and the instruments create that soft sound that Orne has offered in the first minutes of all the album's tracks. After a minute the music becomes friendly, repeating a structure and sharing an ambient of joy.

The album finishes with "Sephira" whose first minutes follow the same path of the other songs (they are a bit repetitive in this matter), but later the music becomes heavier and rockier, intercalating the passages and adding some nice elements such as a saxophone. The spoken word that opened the album returns here, now closing it.

This is a very nice album by Orne, with some nice mixtures and richness of sounds, however there were moments I felt their music and structure repetitive, with some passages of monotony, that's why I could not fall in love with it. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Matti
4 stars ORNE were a Finnish band whose two albums were released through the Italian Black Widow Records, and the guitarist-composer Kimi Kärki had formerly played doom metal in a band called Reverend Bizarre. So it comes as no surprise that Orne's music is pretty dark and melancholic. It also has a strong retro feel with some resemblance to the early 70's output of classic prog such as Van Der Graaf Generator, Genesis, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. At the same time Orne's style is truly personal and they never sound exactly like any of the bands mentioned. The instrumentation features Hammond, Mellotron, Rhodes piano, both acoustic and electric guitars, flute and saxophone. The vocalist Sami Albert Hynninen may have technically a bit uncertain voice but it's full of emotion and guts, which is why one may come to think of Peter Hammill. The voice fits very well to the dark music even though I'm not fond of some hard rock mannerism in it.

This second and sadly final album The Tree of Life was recorded between July 2008 and June 2010. It consists of seven tracks with various lengths up to 12+ minutes. All are quite powerful and atmospheric, but the longest one, 'The Temple of the Worm', deserves to be mentioned especially. It has a delicious and delicate instrumental section sounding like the Nursery Cryme -era Genesis, and the song is completed with the mighty roar of Hammond and a passionate electric guitar solo.

In the acoustically oriented first half of 'Beloved Dead' the tender vocals do sound a bit like Peter Hammill before getting into rougher hard rock territory. The closing track 'Sephira' has some VDGG- reminding saxes but it's slightly marred by cocky vocals and a melodramatic speech part (as is the opener too). Further listenings make me more aware of the negative sides, mostly dealing with the vocals, but despite some weaknesses I'd like to rate this emotionally strong album with four stars. The beautiful cover art is a Biblical painting by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1887), such a perfect choice!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Are 4 stars too much for a doom-metal band outspring? I'd certainly have said so before listening to this record. I wouldn't say so now. "The Tree of Life" is a deeply athmospheric album, strongly based on early '70s progressive rock or even proto-progressive music. There is also a scent of Ital ... (read more)

Report this review (#561268) | Posted by Dalex_61 | Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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