Rating:
8.5
Orphanage - By Time Alone
October 1996


01. At The Mountains Of Madness
02. Five Crystals
03. The Dark Side
04. Deceiver
05. Cliffs Of Moher
06. By Time Alone
07. Ancient Rhymes
08. Odyssey
09. Requiem
10. Leafless
11. Deliverance
12. The Crumbling Of My Denial [bonus]


Everyone keeps talking about all the Symphonic/Gothic Metal bands that appeared in the past years, most of them from Holland, like Within Temptation and After Forever, but it's weird to notice that many of their fans don't really know who started playing this kind of music. Well let's set this straight right now: Orphanage did it when the first line-up gathered in 1994.

Orphanage is a dynamic act. They know how to push musical boundaries and explore sounds that no other band dares to, not limiting themselves to the relation of operatic female vocals, casual shrinking growls and melodies filled with violins setting the rhythm. There's a strong Doom feeling in the whole album, especially in some slower songs or with choirs behind like "The Dark Side" and "Requiem", there are surprisingly varied tempo changes as in "Ancient Rhymes" and as much Death Metal as they are allowed to use in the atmospheric mixture that is "By Time Alone". A very important factor for me is the smaller role of Rosan van der Aa's angelical voice, which is something I hate to see overused, it's a beautiful characteristic but can take a lot of energy from the songs.

Compared to their first effort, "Oblivion", this album is more consistent. If there's a song worth a special distinction that is "At The Mountains Of Madness", it is so mysterious, I mean, even more then any other they've done, with a really heavy part in the middle, like a momentary escape from that intimidating sound. You know how some songs make you create an image of it, like a mental movie on which that song is the perfect soundtrack? Well, this happens to me sometimes and, here, I used to wonder about different things but never anything clear. Until I saw the video for it. The girl lost, that weird place, even the colours, all that smooth blue, it fits the song so well that it really made me appreciate it even more. Gladly when I got this album I realised it had more brilliant moments, like "Cliffs Of Moher", that stands out very much because it's almost like a very emotive and complex ballad, by far the slowest song.

Overall I think there's only one truly negative (and small) detail about "By Time Alone", which is the techno beats around the seventh minute in the long "Deliverance", simply because I don't think they fit they fit the song, but that obviously doesn't stop me in any way from rating high this multifaceted work. If you think Tristania is the best thing Dutch Metal has ever offered and the heaviest Gothic Metal band using the "singers' duo formula" this will surprise you and catch you immediately.


Band profile: Orphanage
Album: By Time Alone


 


written by Passenger | 04.01.2005


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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