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ORB take things to dangerous doom metal heights on their expansive new LP, Birth

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Once again, winter is upon us.

Each individual has their own methods of keeping warm, whether it be woollen socks or a spike in the electricity bills. Granted, one of my greatest winter pleasures lies in the timeless unity of black coffee, and doom metal.

ORB

ORB give Iommi and Osbourne a run for their money as they take sludgy riffs, and delectable vocals to dangerous levels on Birth.

While my doom metal selections typically sway toward the apocalyptic psychosis induced by the notorious Electric Wizard or Sleep, a mix in styling’s is never shrugged off by a cold shoulder. Insert Geelong’s very own mind contorting trio ORB.

It’s been less than a year since ORB graced our senses with the 7’ single Migration, a two- part experience that slayed from the get go, and the boys in ORB are back at it again with their much anticipated album Birth. To put it short, I expected awesome results, and ORB delivered.

The group do little wrong here, in fact I can’t begin to pick out negatives in this release. The guitars are as tasty as ever, boasting a tight and creamy quality that never ceases to impress, it’s an instantly acquainted and classic sound abused by the likes of Sabbath that can ultimately do no wrong.

The mix here by Mikey Young is great too, each individual aspect of the sonic assembly stands out crystal clear, without sounding overly polished or synthetic. Iron Mountain is the first track to salute us upon the albums onset.

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Kicking off with a slow haunting bass line, and subtle fuzz teasing’s ORB pace themselves before what I can only describe as a grandiose arrival into riff territory, Iommi would be proud. Zak’s vocals are somewhat typical, yet fit effortlessly well into the big picture with a leisurely drivel likened to the bassline.

Iron Mountain genuinely sounds humble, and timeless; ORB are a great example of a group that manage to repackage something we all know and love, and give it new life.

Reflection offers more of the same catchy charm while picking up the tempo. Taking further notes from classic 70’s psych influences, evident in the riff structures broken apart by tasty filter ridden fuzzed-out licks, and smooth time shifts executed seamlessly by Jamie Harmer’s drumming.

However, Birth of a New Moon is where ORB kick out the jams, and truly shine as a collective. I can’t even begin to recall the amount of riffs ORB have crammed into this six minute, it’s insane in all the best ways without sounding forced or uninvitingly scattered. One moment you could find yourself in the cold outer depths of space, the next on a scorching desert highway on the hunt for wild peyote.

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Birth of a New Moon features the first adequate greetings from interstellar lunar synths, designed to project radio signals toward distant organisms. Seriously, the synth that slices its way through the mix produces instant Hawkwind vibes (You Should Do That, Anyone?), which equates to an instant win.

Thus far everything from the song titles to the bombardment of riffs have been heavily treading the psychedelic/doom trail with a distinctive sludge that sets ORB apart from their predecessors. Well, the conclusive track Electric Blanket places the final cherry on top with a sixteen-minute long jam; oddly it’s hard to be impressed by this as it becomes a typical trait for psychedelic/doom bands across the globe.

Nevertheless, no matter the length of the track bands such as Dead Meadow and Earthless always make their lengthy listens gripping and indulgent to the fullest extent, ORB are no exception here.

Electric Blanket wraps you in head to toe with consecutive riffs, riddled with what appears to be a continuously adapting ambiance.

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While Electric Blanket is clearly rich in structure, and under the strict musical discipline of the trio, this goes pretty unnoticed to most listeners as it’s all too easy to slip away into the acquaint quiet comfort of the electric blanket, setting their minds adrift from any stern musical arrangements, instead relishing in the exhilarating journey through uncharted territories.

There is all too much I could say about this sixteen minutes of sheer awesomeness exhibited by ORB, however, it is best served for those reading to experience Electric Blanket and the rest of Birth first hand. Upon first listen to Womb in 2015 I admittedly never imagined the boys reaching the pinnacle they are at today in such a short period of time.

It’s excellent to see a group such as themselves rising in the ranks, and I wish them nothing but the best. With ORB joining King Gizzard‘s label Flightless Records (AUS), and now John Dwyers on Castle Face Records (USA), things are looking bright for this young band. It’s about time to slay not only Australia but the US/Europe.

If you are a fan of the Psychedelic/Sludgy styling’s made renowned by the classics such as Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, and even Zeppelin then ORB and their latest release Birth may just be the revitalising blast from the past you were looking for.

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July 4, 2016