Review 1849 : Orphalis – As The Ashes Settle – English

Orphalis‘ fourth album is here.

Since 2010 in Germany, the band currently comprising Jens (guitar/vocals), Morten (guitar, ex-Slamentation), Phillip (drums, Eastwestphalian Scum Division), Thomas (vocals) and Thomas Köhler (bass) have been playing as Brutal as Technical Death Metal, and they’re back in 2023 via Transcending Obscurity Records with As The Ashes Settle.

The band attacks at full speed with As the Ashes Settle and its frantic aggressive riffs, which take advantage of a modern mix to place Old School elements in the surge. The band slows down to let us enjoy their heaviness and dissonance, before integrating a solo and then returning to their initial speed, which leads us to Ritual of Conflagration, a composition that takes the raw elements up while blending them with complex, worked patterns. Every instrument is brought to bear to turn this explosive technicality into a wave of rage, just as on Watch them Descend, where the jerky rhythmic pattern regularly crushes us between two accelerations. On The Wolves Draw Near, the slamming bass sound and unifying elements allow the savage howls to run wild, while guitars channel a majestic sound which spreads on An Effigy to Humanity before the musicians reveal all their fury with intense parts. A few catchy moshparts perfectly fit in with the continuous storm, just like the heady melodies we found in Staring into Ruin and its regular explosions, which then calm down to accommodate much more soaring or epic parts. Moon Supremacy allows us a brief moment of respite with some… unexpected Industrial sounds, before the rage comes back to life on From Shadows Arisen with an as fast, heavy and jerky as relentless approach. Keeping to their well-crafted patterns, the band once again manages to integrate Old School elements on Labyrinth Configuration, with its shifting rhythms underpinned by darker tones, while To Embrace Defeat finds the musicians moving towards chaotic sounds, especially thanks to some crazy tapping parts. Nothing seems to stop the vocalists, who offer their best duet here before letting Crowned in Hatred weave a web of obscure dissonance before returning to a violence nuanced by new ominous melodies before a devastating final.

With this new album, Orphalis offers a set of extremely technical and massive compositions, skilfully alternating between unbridled fury and more melodious passages. As The Ashes Settle is sure to make its mark on the scene!


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