Review for the latest EP from Of, The Betrayer, Your Darkness Will Save You, can be heard right here!
I remember back in the day when people thought of bands who used orchestration in their metal were considered posers, lame, weak, pansies, etc.(as well as other words and phrases I won't mention here). My band being one of them, we received many critiques for our music being symphonic old school death metal, Imagine Deicide meets Emperor, blasphemy(not the band)!!! You can't do that! Hell, even evil ass bands in the black metal scene who used orchestration were shunned. Fast forward to now and it seems to be everywhere, and for good reason. Orchestration in a metal band adds a depth to a song or riff, or a particular section of a song that may otherwise have been unable to give the specific vibe the artists are going for with simply the guitars, the orchestration helps the artists to dive deeper into the music. Now, since I'm going down a path of memory here from back in the day, another type of metal that people thought wasn't going to go anywhere was death core, which I guess now also goes by the moniker of slam metal(?), was also frowned upon. Much of that music seemed to lack substance, an overall feeling that drove the song, there was no meat and potatoes to the music, it simply lacked the basics of a metal song, the driving riff. It was all flash and flair, almost like these bands were showing off and trying to constantly one up each other, but where was the SONG? It was all guitar noodling turned into riffs, like a diet tech death band wannabe genre. So many of us back then thought that this was going to be a passing fad, but somehow it held on and eventually blew up the metal scene. These days, these bands are a dime a dozen, it seems like everyone is going for that sound and it makes it difficult for bands who embrace this genre of metal to stand out among the rest. Enter the orchestration element. Now it seems like the two things in the metal scene that people at one point were looked down upon, have merged, and honestly, it works. The orchestration comes in to help fill that void of the driving riff, sometimes even the lack thereof, and helps give the song it's identity. And now we are here, reviewing the new EP from Of, The Betrayer(I'm honestly not poking fun, but what's up with the comma?), and I know they aren't the first of this style of metal to utilize orchestration, and I know they won't be the last, but they use it really well. So, now that I feel old for sharing my memories with all of you, I'm a fucking dinosaur, let's dig in to this new release a bit and see what it's all about, shall we?
Death March is the first slab of music on the table from this release and it is a quiet scene that builds and ratchets up the intensity, flowing nicely in to the next song, Eternal Suffering, with a bang. The strings wash over you and give you goose bumps as the guitars help to highlight both the strings and organs as well as the vocals to fill the musical landscape here in this track. This is giving me vibes of The Black Dahlia Murder meets Cattle Decapitation, meets Abigail Williams, and it somehow just works with all the, say it with me now, "or-che-stra-tion" going on that adds that needed layer to the song structure. I swear I'm not trying to set any records for the amount of times I use the word orchestration in a review..... orchestration. The pipe organs are a very nice touch, especially when those sweet guitar melodies come in just before the slick solo. That is one thing that I can honestly say that these types of bands have, they have great guitar pieces and talent up the wazoo.... but call me old school, because, well, I'm old, but I need that song identifying riff, aside from that, Eternal Suffering was a great opening track for this release and sets the stage for these guys.
Up next is They Exist. Nice title. A playful orchestral arrangement introduces this track before a bass heavy riff comes pounding in through your doors alongside some heavy drumming that really pushes the.... orchestration, over the edge. In an almost doom meets death metal approach, the main sections of this song are a slow chug that keeps you tapping your toes along with the music. Although this track seems to slow things down a bit, the atmosphere they capture here in this song keeps you interested along the way, wondering what they're going to do next. It's almost as if they are using this song as a rising dynamic of the EP in a sort of metal crescendo, the build up, or calm before a possible coming storm, let's keep listening and see if my assertations here are correct, I do, however, have to point out that the ending to this track is awesome though, before moving on. It fully captures the building energy I mentioned and delivers a satisfying experience.
Moving on, we have, Lost Chapter(Awaken). This one seems to almost feel like a gothic styled approach, but punishingly heavy at the same time. That verse riff.... there it is! The riff! The driving force of this song here is fanfuckingtastic and Of, The Betrayer(there's that comma again, what an odd little fellow) do a great job evolving and morphing that riff to use it as they see fit, blending it with the rest of this songs movement and.... orchestration. A rather interesting mid song section sees these guys explore some clean guitar and clean vocals that sort of lull you back in to that gothic sound that is present throughout this track until it all comes crashing together with a fade into oblivion. Now THAT was a solid track, bravo! More of this, please!
The title track, Your Darkness Will Save You is up next and it is a nice piece of.... orchestration, that glues together the following track, Black Amulet. The closing track is a vicious piece of metal madness that delivers in spades all the things you need in a badass metal song. This one here is definitely my stand out track with guitar melodies that harmonize with the tasty riffs and those evil strings dancing along this metal canvas. The entirety of this EP is constructed in a way that it feels like one long musical movement and it's done very well. The final tracks especially hold true to this EP's formula, and Your Darkness Will Save You, the title track, flows in nicely to the big fat cherry on top of this musical adventures closing track, Black Amulet. The arrangements here are superb.
A display of audible power can be heard within the music from, Of, The Betrayer. The old styling of death core, melodic death and and tech death with the avantgarde approach to the strings and arrangements(you thought I was going to say orchestration again, didn't you? HA!) brings a much needed breath of fresh air in today's metal scene of, dare I say it? Copy cat artists. This musical approach can easily help Of, The Betrayer stand on their own legs and stand tall with confidence among the crowd, especially since these songs had riffs that I could identify, which to me, is the very backbone of good metal music in general. Your Darkness Will Save You is a strong release that I feel anyone can enjoy and find something to like from, I give this release a 8 out of 10 on the banger scale and if you'd like to check it out for yourself, just hit the Youtube stream below and give it a listen and follow them on their social media pages and show them your support...... orchestration.
Review done by Joshuah Jones, the bassist of The Obsidian Resurrection.