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Orphans Of Dusk : Revenant (EP)

Float away into an endless, beautiful starry night with Orphans of Dusk.

'Revenant', the debut EP by Australian-New Zealand trio Orphans of Dusk, is a majestic cascade of chord-driven melodic Doom/Death metal that the listener can really get lost inůmost of the time. Central to Orphans of Dusk's sound are the synth and bass guitar, both played by James Quested. Add to this singer Chris G's exquisite baritone, and the result is an EP that is undeniably memorable, if not fully refined. While about half of this EP demonstrates strengths similar to those that have endeared Agalloch and 40 Watt Sun to their audiences, Orphans... also include contoured death metal sections that are well played but often seem obligatory, as if they're over-conscious of the "death" half of Doom/Death.

Opening track, 'August Price', cycles through a number of sub-styles in its first two minutes, as if taking the listener on a tour of the doom landscape. The brief fantasy melody that occurs early and reappears late is a real treat. I can't help but think of Klaus Doldinger's soundtrack to The Neverending Story, lifted into a modern metal context. Then there's the superb late sequence of leaning-tower doom that puts a morbid smile on my face. The uptempo section in the middle falls flat for me, seeming rather like a mad scramble for nothing. Fortunately, that's not the case for long.

The next song, 'Starless', has solid cohesion, a steadier pace without superfluous fluctuation, and extensive use of Chris G's excellent clean voice. It's during a long and mostly instrumental interlude in the song's second half where Orphans of Dusk truly show what they're made of, soaking melodic chord passages with as much emotion as any vocal passage. This is the kind of stunningly effective songwriting that will have me returning to this EP again and again.

Elsewhere, 'Revenant' is preoccupied with progressive metal Ó la Woods of Ypres. A track like 'Nibelheim' is multi-faceted, flirting with symphonic black metal bombast at times, but the comparative bounciness during the first half of the song feels incongruous against the EP as a whole. But: it should be acknowledged that Orphans of Dusk's use of these various musical gears are a big part of what distinguishes them.

Orphans of Dusk are clearly a band with heaps of talent, a lot on their minds, and the urge to pack 'Revenant' to the brim with content. The latter desire simultaneously boosts their appeal to fans of all types of metal, especially progressive, while leaving less time for the luminous doom metal that shows the band at their best. When it does show, as in 'Starless' and in the epic, morose, and superb track 'Beneath the Cover of Night', I'm ready to float away into an endless, beautiful starry night.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. August Price
2. Starless
3. Nibelheim
4. Beneath the Cover of Night

Duration : Approx. 27 minutes

Visit the Orphans Of Dusk bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-10-01 by Mark Rzeszutek
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