Though they have been luring rich acclaim since emerging back in 2013, new album Nija is The RR’s first real introduction to Swedish metallers Orbit Culture and one of the most striking and gripping moments of 2020 it has proven to be.
Seemingly being generally tagged as melodic death metal, Orbit Culture’s sound is a cauldron of varied creative trespasses as proven by their second album. Certainly death metal breeds its heart and creative animus but across its tracks the album revels in the richest trespasses of melodic and groove metal with thrash just as fertile an ingredient in its invasive triumph. In some ways it courses through ears like a fusion of In Flames, Shadows Fall, and Metallica but soon stamps down thick individuality as proven by album opener At The Front.
The first track immediately descends on ears with malice and intensity, its presence and sound soon a wall of magnetic spitefulness and invasive intensity yet at the same time bears infectious lures sprung by barbarous grooves amid rhythmic invasiveness. The guitars of Richard Hansson and Niklas Karlsson devour the senses with their enterprise, the latter equally as compelling as guttural enmity escapes his throat alongside a cleaner but no less imposing dexterity. Imagination continues to drive the track, its twists enthralling and turns riveting just as the fertile diversity within the band’s carnal roar.
The outstanding start is swiftly matched by the predatory soundscape of North Star Of Nija. Prowling the senses it overwhelms in menace yet at the same time spins a tapestry of melodic temptation which just as easily got under the skin. The rhythmic intensity of bassist Fredrik Lennartsson and drummer Christopher Wallerstedt is just as much threat and addictive manipulation even as the track expands its melodic prowess and sonic dexterity with Karlsson’s vocal agility similarly rich incitement. As with all tracks, its landscape is a continually changeable proposition, the darkest depths and richest radiance found in its creative earth with almost kaleidoscopic effect.
Day Of The Cloud follows and immediately Hansson weaves a web of sonic intrigue before the song erupts in another infernal invasion of the senses fuelled by the uncompromising rhythms of Lennartsson and Wallerstedt. Within the intense cyclone, sonic flames erupt bound in melodic wiring. In turn they are immersed again in the tumult around Karlsson’s voracious throat to re-emerge once again from the carnivorous incursion drawing the vocalist’s more harmonic attributes. Already there is no surprise that the track revels in unpredictable imagination, calmer waters and the rhythmic tempting of Wallerstedt almost siren like within the controlled but ever threatening climate which soon devours again.
The melodic intimation and caress of Behold instantly had ears and attention gripped; its initial serenade of the imagination an untamed beauty which soon instigates spirals of sonic turbulence without defusing its radiance. The discord in its heart subsequently infuses the roar of our favourite track and its increasingly compelling turmoil before Open Eye unleashes its own savage onslaught to just as strikingly punish and enthral. It too is a major highlight of the album, its thrash infested virulence perfectly aligned to the song’s death metal antipathy. Adrenaline driven and rancour woven the track is a masterpiece, its bestial intensity and ravenous insurgence clad in melodic and at times industrial metal malevolence.
Beast like is an appropriate description of next up Mirrorslave too, the ursine track stalking the listener even as Karlsson leads a thrash cored contagion from within its intense intimidation and presence. As for those before it, fascination and greed quickly met its proposal, both aspects escalating with the increased ferocity, brutality and the simultaneously melodically spun invention of the song while Nensha instantly and continually scorched the senses with its primal inclinations, never relenting in its oppressive intent and fiercely enjoyable malice. Increasingly irresistible, the track is a demon feeding on the fears and insecurities within yet nourishing the spirit and the thick greed firmly established by this point for the band’s sound.
The final pair of Rebirth and The Shadowing brought the album to a close as dramatic and inspiring as it began, the first bringing the progressive attributes of the band to a more melodic metal shaped proposal but one with dark turmoil and sonic commination embracing every aspect of its increasingly epic landscape and intimation. The final track is an insatiable torrent of death metal malignance, an immediate ravening of the senses which bears infernal seduction as it erupts from time to time in melodic resourcefulness, each break more innovative and captivating as the track simply grew and increasingly enslaved by the moment.
In a year of some rather exceptional encounters Orbit Culture has maybe provided the finest yet, certainly Nija stands bold at the fore of such triumphs.
Nija is out now via Seek & Strike; available @ https://orbitculture.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 20/08/2020