I love melodic death metal, and I also love to support bands in my local scene. So when I was repeatedly urged to check out Orpheus Omega’s latest release, the concept album Partum Vita Mortem, I naturally obliged. This was a band that I had checked out before, but save for a couple of great tracks, their previous albums had not grabbed me. I’d already categorised them as just another local band unlikely to deliver on their glimpses of potential, but boy am I glad that I gave them another chance because this album rocks! If you don’t believe me check it out after the jump!
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As you can hear, Orpheus Omega are a melodeath band in the vein of Dark Tranquility, with keyboards holding a prominent role. Whilst they aren’t redefining the genre with something remarkably original, their execution of such a clearly defined sound is excellent, ensuring that their voice is worth being heard. The guitars do exactly what they’re supposed to do, alternating between fast riffing and catchy, melodic hooks. The keyboards juggle between lead and backing roles quite well, knowing when to drive a song and when to accent the riffs on display. The rhythm section are rock solid and there can be no complaints about the harsh vocals prominent throughout. Occasionally clean vocals are thrown in for variety, and whilst the band could certainly improve in this department, their inclusion is definitely a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the consistency of their songwriting has improved dramatically, for there is hardly a weak track to be had. Even after listening to the album on repeat, there is no hint of boredom or fatigue setting in.
Too often bands can be imprisoned by the shadows cast by their heroes, by the giants of their genre. No doubt you’ve heard things like “Why bother listening to >melodeath band<, when you can just listen to In Flames or At the Gates?”. Similar arguments abound for each genre. PVM may not be a genre-defining classic, but let’s face it, how many albums truly are? Ultimately this is still a great record, one which has broken free from the shadows which constrain most of their peers, and which deserves some light of its own. Given the improvement we’ve seen already, let’s hope exposure to such light can help them grow even further. To find out, make sure you follow them on facebook and don’t forget one of the morals of this story: don’t give up on your local bands!