There is a chilling honesty to the emotionally destructive sound unleashed within Blackened Souls, the new album from French metallers Oruga; an undisguised ravenously truthful breath which revels in the corrosive melancholy and raw misery which breeds its compelling canvas of sound and intent. Fusing the darkest, heaviest doom sculpted malevolence with the most irritable invasive sludge attrition, Oruga create a tsunami of provocation which leaves mercy and respite as lost in the depths of the overwhelming intensity as the senses they invade and violate. Their new album is not a ground-breaking persuasion, slotting in perfectly with numerous similarly bred releases over recent times but whether many others come close to the emotional ferocity and erosive voracity which breeds their thunderous rhythms and colossal riffery is doubtful.
Formed in 2010, the quintet from Northern France caught wider attention with the release of their self-titled debut last year, its dark ravenous premise the certain base from which Blackened Souls explores further and deeper, uncovering primal layers within raw and cold agonies. Whereas its predecessor found avenues for tempting melodic classic metal lures the new release is a charnel house of stark and harsh emotions, though it too is unafraid to colour its cavernous hunger with riveting adventure. There is also a sense of frustration to every note and vocal roar which seeps from the album, a despair at its heart which intensifies and enlivens chords and syllables with persuasive toxicity. It all makes for a thoroughly compelling incitement which shows Oruga to be a potent emerging force within extreme metal, one deserving of major attention.
Heretics brings the album to bear upon the senses first, its opening tide of sonic ravishment and instinctive antagonism brewing in intensity from the opening note as the guitars of Julien L. and Fred P. swarm portentously around the ears. Simultaneously the rhythmic coaxing of Bruno H. adds to the thickening web, a capture increased by the dark throated strains of bass from Pietro G. and the initially clean spoken vocals of Cedric M. It all converges into a singular menacing which still with some restraint begins crawling over the senses peering into the darkest corners of the psyche as Cedric twists his delivery into a caustic growl. Elevating its potency, spite, and energy in varying degrees, the track crawls under the skin capturing the imagination with its specifically aimed and concentrated creative venom. It is not a track which startles in its invention but skilfully bewitches in its emotional malevolence and undiluted straight forward voracity.
The following We, The Darkness crawls from the same imaginative fiery sonic pit of oppressive invention, its sonic hooks and distorted melodic endeavour shards of acidic light within the lumbering prowl and hunger of the song. Again Cedric brawls with his lyrics with a bestial predaciousness whilst the rhythms cage and punish with each heavy fisted swipe but it is the spearing sonic bait of the guitars which provide the passion spawning lures which pushes the album up another level within two songs.
Both Dead Among The Living and Disciples reinforce the impressive start, the festering aural animosity of the first sculpting a sonically scarred canvas upon which great melodic vocals unveil their suasion alongside expected squalls and guitars paint their intrusive scenery with rapacious hues and searing emotions. It is an even tempered encounter compared to other tracks initially but eventually the predator within loses its chains to unleash violent riffing and cantankerous rhythmic animosity before revolving between a poetic scorched beauty and a vitriolic fury for a breath-taking and at times uncomfortable journey. Its successor opens with a gentle yet primal elegance as the guitar emotionally hints at the impending intimidation of an unbridled fury. A tempestuous cloud of sound and intensity smothers ears and senses subsequently, lurching over and preying on thoughts and emotions as Cedric expels the heart of the song. It is a brutal tempting which bruises and transfixes with every rabid beat and edacious squall of guitar, both enriched by the hellacious dark tone of the bass and the ever threatening vocals.
It is fair to say that from its formidable start the album just increases its weight and quality, the final two songs providing the evidence. Cursed savages air and ears first, its carnivorous presence and breath a perpetual sonic scrub on the senses, a lethal highly addictive scourge punctuated throughout by the uncompromising strikes of Bruno. It is a torrential violation where you soon make assumptions but have them almost as quickly dismissed with force by the brilliant twist into a post metal drift of spiny melodies and cleaner predatory vocals. It is only a temporary detour but an inspired and invigorating one giving the returning maelstrom more depth and intrigue. The track is a glorious example of the ability and invention of Oruga though it is soon left looking up at the plateau set by Ghosts Of Anneliese. The closing song manages to bring an even nastier element to its incitement, every rhythm holding sheer malice and each scrub of riffing scratching deeper into ears and psyche. The excellent spread of gruff and again cleaner vocals spread greater spice to the album whilst the toxic melodic designs and underlying emotive groove paint sultry toxins into the spiteful corruption. Throughout the release there is a stoner-esque spice which here is at its strongest, though twisted with the Oruga invention it emerges as a deranged and rigorously thrilling tainting. The track is glorious, a titanic beast of invention and passionate ferocity, and almost alone the reason why the band and Blackened Souls deserves a strong bright spotlight.
Blackened Souls is available now via Apathia Records @ http://apathiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/blackened-souls
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