Rating:
N/A
Orbeth - 13th Orb
6 January 2013


01. Borderlands
02. Interstellar
03. Riding The Ice Fields
04. Planetoid Alpha
05. Anthemic
06. Scorpius Frequency
07. Celestial Guardians
08. 13th Orb
09. Flux
10. Terra Ignota
11. Blue Sunrise(Drone)


Ben White AKA Bijimitsu, formerly of Mithras, is a very, very busy composer. His band Orbeth released 4 albums in 2012, which followed the 2 full lengths from 2011. The 13th Orb is his first of who knows how many for 2013.

Last year I reviewed one of the 2012 offerings, The Way, and was impressed with its dark, spacey prog but not thrilled with the execution. It seemed to set up big climaxes that never happened, and hinted at potential while never really satisfying. When he sent me this album I was trepidatious to say the least. But once the album was spinning I realized this new output is nothing like The Way.

The 13th Orb is still prog, and still dark, but the spacey-ness manifests itself in a heavier, hungrier way. Though he referred to this album as "fantasy metal," gone is much of the whispered, mystic atmosphere; it was replaced with sheer power and more extreme metal. There are still acoustic parts, still mood, and still some whispered vocals, only now they're splendidly balanced with shouted vocals, build-ups that really go somewhere, and guitar solos that'll make you swoon.

Swoon, I tell you.

The soaring melodies have their moments, and the extreme death-inspired metal has its moments, but for the most part it's a unique blend. It's both melodic and extreme, and encompasses the best of many different kinds of prog. Strangely enough, there are some electronic elements that really tie it all together. Electronic elements? That was really out of left field, wasn't it? Just go with it this time. What felt held back in the other album positively bursts forth this time around. It's like... "Orbeth unleashed" or something awesome. Not just the increase in extreme metal or the faster tempos but really in the energy as well.

Hearing two such different albums from the same dude made me very curious: did he simply evolve or is Orbeth's discography just this eclectic? Hearing more of their music is definitely on my to-do list this year. But at least this time, Bijimitsu really hit the sweet spot. If you like any form of progressive in your metal, or you just like interesting blends of music, then listening to The 13th Orb should be on YOUR to-do list this year.

Listen at Bandcamp


 



Written on 03.04.2013 by
Susan
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.
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!J.O.O.E.! - 03.04.2013 at 03:00  
I remember commenting on your last review of Orbeth's and liking it in a similar way. I think I knew about this album but hadn't tracked it down, but I had no idea he had so many albums since that one o.O Sounds like this might be worth having a go at since I enjoyed the one you reviewed (though found I had the same issues with it as you did).
BloodTears - 03.04.2013 at 21:08  
I really like the cover. What is it? Hum... Not sure I will like this but I'm curious and will give it a try at least.
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.04.2013 at 21:24  
It's good to see that there's both a version with vocals and a version that's instrumental. I just listened to a track of the vocaled version and the vocals were definitely off putting so I'd go for the instrumental version if I were people.

Has slightly different artwork too: Bancamp
Mr. Doctor - 03.04.2013 at 22:13  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 03.04.2013 at 21:24
It's good to see that there's both a version with vocals and a version that's instrumental. I just listened to a track of the vocaled version and the vocals were definitely off putting so I'd go for the instrumental version if I were people.


Yeah... you can definitely takem off the vocals on this one. Glad that he did a version without them. Dang, wouldn't it be great if there was some sort of program that took an album and gave with a second copy without vocals? That would be cool.
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.04.2013 at 22:15  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 03.04.2013 at 22:13

Yeah... you can definitely takem off the vocals on this one. Glad that he did a version without them. Dang, wouldn't it be great if there was some sort of program that took an album and gave with a second copy without vocals? That would be cool.

It really would. So many crappy or average albums could be improved dramatically.
Mr. Doctor - 03.04.2013 at 22:18  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 03.04.2013 at 22:15
It really would. So many crappy or average albums could be improved dramatically.


Or some awesome albums could just get an at least equally awesome version (See: The Amenta - n0n)
K†ulu - 04.04.2013 at 16:06  
Yes please, solos that will make me swoon - this album is next on my playlist.

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