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Orthrelm - OV CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.14 | 16 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Negoba | 2/5 |


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