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Orthrelm OV album cover
2.93 | 14 ratings | 5 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. OV (45:43)


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mick Barr / Guitars
- Josh Blair / Drums

Releases information

Ipecac Records CD 2005

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Audio CD$3.66
$2.20 (used)
OV by Orthrelm (2005-06-14)OV by Orthrelm (2005-06-14)
Audio CD$32.03

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ORTHRELM OV ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (21%)


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
1 stars 'OV' - Orthrelm (2/10)

Although it is obviously my number one goal in music to find the best work and new sounds to digest, a side-project of mine has also been to fine albums that either completely contradict my concept of taste, or strike me as not only being bad, but downright unlistenable. Although Orthrelm's 'OV' has quite a few people who have found something 'great' in it, it is one such album that completely goes against how I enjoy music. Of course, the possibility is always left open that an album of this nature will revolutionize my views on music. In the case of 'OV' sadly, shred drone metal is not the pick of the day, or tomorrow, or probably ever. Comprised of a single forty minute composition, Orthrelm takes a handful of sloppy shred metal ideas, and draws them out to such a length and level of repetition that sanity may be lost half way through.

Usually, I would have plenty to say about the slight nuances and themes that pervade a forty minute piece. After all, they are usually a work of labour and love, and often meticulously crafted. Orthrelm may have put a lot of effort and care into creating 'OV', but my concerns lie with how the music has translated into the result I have heard, and am hearing. A two man group armed with nothing more than a handful of guitars and a drumkit, Orthrelm is not aiming for the lush arrangements and instrumentation that a typical progressive metal band has. You either have the chaotic drumming, or an unrelenting shred pattern that does not seem to give up. 'OV' opens up promisingly enough, with a bass note that pumps along, as if it were building up to something epic. By the time the overdrawn intro is up, a listener will have been filled in on virtually everything that transpires within the album. The bass disappears, and in its stead, there is an ear-piercing guitar shredding pattern. I cannot say it is even a 'guitar lick', because what comes out from the guitar does not sound like notes. Instead, three, or five, or <.i> ten minutes into hearing the exact same pattern sweeping up and down, Orthrelm's guitar sounds much less like an instrument, and much like a winged insect with baby-making on its mind.

I could say that there are more ideas to 'OV' than the shred idea, but that might imply that there is any sense of variety to this. Occasionally- and I do mean only occasionally- Orthrelm will break out of the shred to amp up the noise with some chaotic riff-chugs plucked right out of the math rock handbook. After being virtually condemned to the notion that nothing else would ever change in the sound, it is a pleasant shock to hear them do something else, but after a few seconds, the listener is treated to a variation on the same bloody shredding . By the end of this catastrophe, headaches were inevitable. Now, to those listeners who have found solace and enjoyment in 'OV', I do understand that the seemingly endless repetition does attempt to reach that feeling of being lured into a trance and hypnotized, and as unlistenable as this entire album was, the drumming remained fairly intense. However, when an album becomes a labour of willpower to properly sit through, it becomes clear that Orthrelm's music won't be appealing to me any time soon.

Review by Negoba
2 stars Shred Noise Experiment with Very Narrow Use

Intentionally abrasive noise experiments always tend to split listeners into a majority that never get past the noise, a small number of fakers who cry "Genius!!!" just because it's wierd, and then the minority of people who have enough experience with extremely (and I mean extremely) challenging music to actually given both a fair listen and proper criticism. Though I do not consider myself a noise expert at any level, I have a little experience with other works in this strange category. But more importantly to this particular group, I have alot of experience with shred guitar. The fact that I have myself spent hours upon hours working on picking patterns means I have a few circuits in the musical parts of my brain not everyone has. This is not necessarily anything to be proud of. It just alters my experience of this disc.

This disc simply consists of extremely accelerated math rock styled drumming (organic, loose, but complex) with repetitive shred guitar patterns played over the top. Imagine taking a measure of "Flight of the Bumblebee" played by John Pertucci and having him playing it 100 times, then playing the second measure 50 times, and then each subsequent measure 25 times. The intention seems to be to let the brain get accustomed to the abrasive sound and then to alter the pattern and then let the brain settle again, switch, repeat. Some have said this is good meditation music, and it might be for some people. It is completely different from the oceanic, sleepy sounds we usually associate with meditation. However, it might actually work to anchor the mind in the moment and allow one to tune it to the nuance of the now.

The guitar has a small slap-back delay that makes it sound double tracked which would have been absolutely impossible to actually do. But the result is that we get a feel of multiple guitars playing in unison over the pulse of the drum. The patterns themselves are circular, some more straightforward than others, but all about half a second long. Some are pretty boring, some a little more chaotic, and a few are complex and interesting of their own merit. The pick rate is not mechanical, and the human variation in the regularity of the constant stream of notes is where the interest seems to come. In addition, there are little pulse beats that appear due to the slight variation in synchronization between the drums and guitar.

In the end, I appreciate what these guys were trying to accomplish with this disc. I sampled some of their other albums, which typically had numerous small sketches with a similar sound. Those works did absolutely nothing for me because the meditation-like angle was completely gone with the short time frame. I could not listen to one of those albums all the way through, where I was strangely able to listen to this continuous 45 minute hailstorm twice.

To be sure, this is an endurance test. If you make it 15 minutes into the piece and think "surely something else is going to happen," the answer is "not really." There are a few sections with short open spaces but for the most part the intention of the music doesn't change. I think by that point if you were going to be able to get something out of it, you would know.

This is the defintion of a niche project, "fans only." For a very few, it will have some value. But it is mainly a curiosity, an extreme digression in a world where it is nearly impossible to do something unique. This is unique. But I could frankly imagine it being used for torture.

Review by frippism
4 stars WARNING: I feel that maybe reading this review can spoil the very unique experience (either good or bad) that this album delivers, particularly on the first listen.

I think that in general, when I find an album that I like, I generally know why. Moreover, I don't understand how can someone else can't like it (my mean mean brain works that way).

This album does neither. I don't understand why I like it so much, and I do understand why so many people hate this.

But the truth is, that I love this album dearly. It is a meditative experience that in the purest ways, cleans the body out of all toxic waste, while leaving it drastically altered and disturbed. So yes, rather a paradoxical experience.

There really isn't much to say about the album. It is more or less, minimalist complexity. One 45 minute song. Mick Barr, the insane shredding monster that he is, pretty much exercises the same insanely dissonant, shred-type riff, for about 17 minutes. It is in a way the ultimate test of patience the first time around. Josh Blair's drums just drive this riff forward,- rolling tom tom and bass drum grooves that are hypnotizing you and putting you in some demonic state.

Every time there's a drum fill, you expect something different. But no! You will get the same repetitive riffing, again and again and again. When in the 17 minute mark, the drums finally stop and Mick Barr changes riff, it is almost like bliss. It almost like finishing a hard work out and the great feeling after it- a feeling of achievement as much as pleasure.

But pretty quickly Mick Barr does different riffs, but constantly repeats them once again. You cannot say, that this man doesn't have stamina. To be able to be treble picking straight for 45 minutes, is quite the achievement.

The riffing goes on and on and on.

When you listen to this album, while knowing what to expect, it not only becomes easier, but rather enjoyable in a way. You get hypnotized from the whole ordeal. The fact that this album can rather easily be shortened to a 5 minute version, and still have all the riffs in there, can actually make the album go by incredibly fast. It's the ideal way of time travel, sort of. It shows you how 45 minutes can feel like 10.

So, while I love thing, I don't find it remotely essential, for anyone, as most will definitely hate it, understandably so. It's repetitive, exceedingly dissonant, headache inducing at times. But if you want one of the more bizarre experiences of your life, listening to this. Whether you like or not is to be seen.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A radical departure from their previous work and most likely the most challenging. For me, it feels as if it is the anti-thesis of prog music in a way - despite the progressions in the music, they come after indefinite periods of time, where most of the record feels it is spent in an almost en ... (read more)

Report this review (#596391) | Posted by Smegcake! | Monday, December 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now this is a monster of a piece of music. I am sort of surprised to find this on here. But it is progressive, certainly, as a single 45 minute, progressing math rock ASSAULT, with emphasis on assault for good reason. For those not familiar with Orthrelm's musical work prior to this, it is oft ... (read more)

Report this review (#595182) | Posted by Renkls | Saturday, December 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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