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Reverence Meets Revision in Orodrim's "The Void Gazer" EP





Reverence Meets Revision in Orodrim's "The Void Gazer" EP

Much of the story of American black metal involves mutations — bands taking the tropes of the largely European genre and recontextualizing them. Whether it means eschewing the more questionable politics of some of the genre’s forebears or just not writing so many songs about being cold, American black metal is constantly evolving. “The Void Gazer” is a refreshing release; it is black metal, but it eschews some of the form’s staler conventions (think impenetrable cassette production and overly linear song structure) in favor of originality. Though one can hear numerous sources of inspiration in the album’s roughly 27-minute runtime, the expansive and winding tracks remind me of Altar of Plagues, while some of the riffs would not sound out of place on Cobalt’s boundary-pushing “Gin.”

“The Void Gazer” immediately surprises the listener with its immaculate production. Starting with “The Void Gazer Part I,” the drums sound full, coupling with filthy arpeggios reminiscent of Genghis Tron circa “Board Up The House.” From there, the track unfolds into a chimeric behemoth in which chasmic, sludgy riffs quickly give way to clean, progressive-sounding guitar grooves and then to rapid-fire, tremolo-picked, blackened ferocity. Shrieked vocals mingle with low, deathly growls, giving the song the feeling of a beast that may very well swallow the listener up.

The second track, “A Citadel of Birch,” provides a necessary eye in the storm. The song is an intimate instrumental performed on classical guitar, with a fire crackling in the background — the sort of thing that might heighten suspense towards the end of a full-length release. On this EP however, the song functions as an interlude — if “The Void Gazer” is a journey, this track is a moment of respite by a campfire, steeling oneself for whatever trials lie ahead.

And “The Void Gazer Part II” does not hold back: it is a chugging continuation of Part I, with doom-metal guitars, punctuated by the type of rhythmic passages that would not be out of place on a brutal death metal album. Though the vocals are largely obscured, one can discern words like “wretched” and “wicked” creeping through the murkiness, adding to the track’s vitriol. The song builds on the beastial vivacity of the first part so well, that by the time the final lines have been shrieked it feels almost as if the EP has devoured itself.

All in all that’s gonna be a “kinda great” from me!

- Tín Rodriguez

Published: March 27, 2021 |

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