Ho hum. Another year, another release from the incredible Denver metal scene. Don’t you all get just as bored with these incredible bands as I do? That’s as far as I can fake those kinds of comments because we’re now talking about Oryx, another excellent metal act from the Mile High City. I wish I could explain how my home is able to consistently put out this kind of material. I’ve scratched my head over and over about this, and I don’t have a dang clue what it is about this town that makes the metalheads produce mind-blowing material. It could just be the weed, I guess, but that explanation isn’t the panacea I need. It’s all ancillary to today’s discussion of Oryx’s new awesome record, Lamenting A Dead World, but maybe we can open our eyes as we review it.
To start with the basics, Oryx is a heavy-as-all-come-out blackened sludge trio. Originally formed in 2012, the band has been making the rounds for some time, most recently touring with fellow heavy as hell Denverites Primitive Man. That fact alone should tell you these musicians have some real chops. While the two bands do sound similar to an untrained ear, Oryx separates themselves with moments of sinfully heavy melodies. Both bands still bash you in the eardrums, but Oryx does it slightly nicer.
Lamenting A Dead World cements this idea in my head. It is excellently written nasty as hell blackened sludge with an emphasis on songwriting drama. The biggest thing about the band and this record in particular is their songwriting and how they structure their songs. It’s not just intro-verse-chorus standard stuff here. There are a lot of different sections in each of their songs, and that practice makes their music that much more compelling to listen to. They’ve always been writing songs that way, but it really shines on Lamenting A Dead World. All of these tracks have their own feel and go in their own directions, so each track feels like its own unique experience. That’s a damn great record no matter who’s talking.
What really helps further strengthen the songwriting on Lamenting is the production quality. This record just sounds better than their previous records. That’s no criticism against the previous records at all, but Lamenting has a desperately needed clarity the band has been lacking on previous outings. The record still sounds brutal and sludgy, but there’s those little extra pieces you can only get from higher production values. With higher quality production, what you do well can shine through all the more clearer. Oryx does a lot of things really well in their music, so having better production just makes it all seem better.
Here’s what listeners ultimately need to know: a Denver underground metal band put out a damn great record. Lamenting A Dead World is similar to a lot of other records Denver bands have been putting out in recent years. It doesn’t sound like those other records nor is Oryx copying anything anyone else is doing, but there’s something about the scene here in my hometown that makes all of these bands great. They have to have a message board or something where they all work together to help each other. That’s an aside for another day, but the point is that Lamenting A Dead World follows that same trajectory. Do you like sludge? Do you like it dark and dirty? Then why aren’t you listening to Oryx already? What’s wrong with you? You need to get to sorting that out immediately because Oryx is fantastic.
Oryx’s Lamenting A Dead World releases on April 30th. You can head on over to their Bandcamp page above to pre-order it.