ORBITER – HOLLOW WORLD
LABEL: Argonauta Records
RELEASE: September 22nd, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Silence Breaks
04. Hollow World
05. Raven Bones
07. Under Your Spell
08. Last Call
Active since 2014, it’s been quite the journey for Helsinki based ORBITER. With the arrival of vocalist Carolin Koss in 2019, the band was able to add vocals to their blend of doom and psychedelia. After 2020’s EP “The Deluge”, ORBITER is finally able to open to the world with their debut album, “Hollow World”.
The album opens with the lengthy “Silence Breaks”, grinding riffs with hypnotic vocals that instantly envelope the listener in the band’s mystic trances. As an introduction to the band, it sets out expectations for the next thirty or so minutes. Elements of Black Moth’s Harriet Bevan are evident in Koss‘ singing style. Her mournful yet soaring parts on second track “Beneath” conjure up memories of the much-missed Leeds outfit. The riffs cascade with unrelenting power, the searing lead work of Alexander Meaney breaking through the fuzz.
Whilst the first two songs provide the platform and introduction, it’s the ethereal piece “Kolibri” that breaks the cycle. A short atmospheric tune, it allows a brief pause from the huge riffs that crash down in torrents. It leads into the title track, which begins with a haunting introduction, Koss giving an album winning performance. It’s a moody, dark track, captivating and enchanting, switching from the punishing riffs to gentle, guitar work dripping with evocative imagery. It’s this ability to create aural pictures that makes ORBITER an intriguing listen. It’s slow, doom-laden metal that aches with emotion. No rushing here, merely long, lingering riffs that hang in the air.
There are many influences which make up the overall style of ORBITER. It’s impossible to pin their style down to one genre, although it’s doom and psychedelia which form the basis of their sound. The title track for example, draws in everything from Avatarium to Orange Goblin.
Midway through the album and we arrive at “Raven Bones”. Another deep, melancholic track that starts with a drum beat which introduces a sliding riff reminiscent of Sal Abruscato’s style in A Pale Horse Named Death. The song drifts along, doom-soaked vocals floating above, whilst the percussion leads the direction, dominating without overpowering. One can imagine the atmospheric shows that the band put on – this is a song that will work well. This leads us into the Sci-Fi feel of “Transmissions”, a shorter piece that is flooded with space rock effects which interplay and weave their way through a meandering instrumental piece.
Penultimate track “Under Your Spell” does exactly that. A captivating duet between Koss and acoustic guitar, it’s yet another curved ball which maintains the overall feel of the album but delivers it in a different style. This leads to the rather dreary finale, appropriately entitled “Last Call”. It’s a bit of a dirge, but overall fits into the style that flows through the album.
This isn’t an album for all. If you dislike slow, at times funereal paced songs, then you aren’t going to lap it up. But if you appreciate the finer points of doom metal, and the Sabbath-esque riffs that rain down, it should be one for you.