Review: ORB – Birth


3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

Castle Face and company have always had a penchant for stony longhairs, proto-metal, and riff-filled ragers. If you’ve followed the label, then they may have introduced you to some of your favorite acts today — examples being Ty Segall, White Fence, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Male Gaze, and Sunwatchers to name a few. Plucked from Geelong, Australia trio ORB — which features former members of the Frowning Clouds — is a band that continues to carry the aforementioned qualities. Falling from the void Birthuses dystopian grooves to separate the seeds and stems from the heady nuggs.

From the looming bass notes of “Iron Mountain” you may swear that it is SLEEP’s “From Beyond.” But, a few more seconds into the track, the curtain pulls back to reveal an amorphous, abyss-spawned sludge fire. “New Moon” is an instrumental monolith that slowly strides with mixed flourishes of wah. But the real treats here are “First and Last Men” with final track “Electric Blanket.” “First and Last Men” throws a heavy breakdown that really gave me a “War Pigs” vibe — I’m sure Tommy Iommi would be proud. “Electric Blanket” is a title that could be taken literally. Clocking in at 16:03, this warm and fuzzy monster recalls everything from Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” to Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom” with a heady mix of prog for good measure.

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With artists out there like Wand, Fuzz, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Meatbodies, making a psych/proto-metal/sludge album can be hard. ORB’s Birth shows us that’s no easy task. They clearly embrace their influences but lack in the innovation category. In my mind, innovation looks like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Nonagon Infinity and Wand’s Golem. But, for a five track label debut Zak Olsen’s guitar riffs burn heavy, Daff Gravolin’s bass vibrates time and space, and Jamie Harmer’s drums call from beyond. Grab your Rickenbacker, strap on your SG and let the ORB’s groove telepathy disrupt your brain waves.

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