Big news! Fantastic news! Orbit Culture is back with their brand new album Descent which is out now on Seek and Strike Records. I am familiar with Orbit Culture’s music as their last album Nija was on heavy rotation last summer. I was impressed by its unapologetic heaviness and sleek production. The band is playing live with Trivium at Southampton Guildhall which is nuts. I am excited to see what this new album is like, so let us dive into it!
Opening up we have “The Descending” which is an intro of orchestral music and drums which remind me of a stampede or some massive climax in a Hans Zimmer movie. We are ready for battle here and the music gets somewhat louder.
Sometimes you need a few listens to get a feel for the tracks. The first time I heard ”Black Mountain”, I wasn’t sold on it at all, but listening to it again after that intro, the big drums and the chunky guitar is going to blow your head off in a live environment, should you see them on their upcoming tour with Trivium. I feel like the band has stepped up, enforcing an even more powerful sound with the bigger guitars. Once you become accustomed to the clean vocals in the chorus, they elicit a power that makes you want to walk through walls. The solo has a bit of Killswitch Engage about it, and then with the brutal double kicks, fucking hell it works a treat. It’s amazing how something can grow on you over time because this is exactly what “Black Mountain” does for me.
I am also excited to say that the record continues strongly from here. We have some gloriously chunky riffs alongside screams that give you extra power. What’s more, the drums sound so clean and crisp, alongside the death metal style double kicks. What is it with Swedes and their commitment to making driving metal. There is also a church organ and an orchestra which I think works very well. This results in an epic conclusion.
I think if you want a circle pit heavy hitter, then “Vultures of North” could be the song for you. It has a riff that’s bruising and a consistent double kick that powers the track forward. Niklas Karlsson’s vocals are crushing and contain plenty of passion. What helps the song stand out is that there are loads of tempo changes that hit at the right moments. There is a break at around 2:42 which consists of an almost nu-metal clean guitar with some cymbal taps. And then it brings it back into some nasty face melter of a riff.
As I am listening to the album, I am noticing that there is an upturn in consistency from the band. You can tell that they’ve thought all these songs through and which bits go where, from the mosh calls to how heavy they can go. What’s more, there are different elements that help set it apart too, like the choral sounds on “Alienated” and the beautiful clean guitars that open “The Aisle of Fire”. I am getting reminded of Opeth which is great because they are one of my favourite metal bands at the minute. It is clear to me that Orbit Culture are influenced by Opeth’s bone cutting growls. I love the chorus of this song too because it is an instant earworm. This is one of the best songs on the album because it is extremely dark but has the right amount of melody too.
We move onto the title track and this might well be one of the most brutal tracks on here. These vocals really cut deep and then what follows is a sludgy and nasty breakdown that sounds like audible punches to the face. Hell will be unleashed when this song kicks in, I am sure, providing it makes the setlist.
The last song, “Through Time” is the calm after the storm, with lighter guitars and softer vocals. It offers a nice but of variation that ends the album. It shows they can do different things with their music if they wanted to.
On “Descent”, Orbit Culture has a knack for delivering well crafted songs. They’ve got tighter as a unit, and I think this will be a record that is a crowd pleaser, but also if you like your death metal on the heavier side.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos