Orthrelm OV

[Ipecac; 2005]

Styles: minimalistic shredding
Others: Yngwiw Malmsteen, Terry Riley, Flying Luttenbachers, Ruins

Would metal heads enjoy Orthrelm? Would music theory buffs sift through OV's drone like passages, searching for a reference point where modern composition turned into... this? This unrelenting barrage of minimalistic speed metal. Minimalistic shredding. That's the best I can come up with. Listening to Orthrelm, it's impossible to separate the metal and modernist elements, and if you're only familiar with one side of that fucked up coin, you'll notice something distinctly missing. On a purely aural basis, I find OV, one continuous 45-minute track, easier to digest than some of Orthrelm's previous work. In short, their aesthetic blends seamlessly here, seeming at once nihilistic and studious. Studiously nihilistic. Mmmm... Guitarist Mick Barr and drummer Josh Blair (yes, this is a duo) are either using a computer to paste things together or are in fucking peak physical condition playing this stuff. They both shred relentlessly, trading off between motorcycle double bass runs and insane chromatic riffs. It's impressive on a purely mechanical level, leaving me to predict that joining a thrash metal band will be the next Adkins diet. Yeah. Around 30 minutes into the piece, the sections start changing more rapidly, letting the drum and guitar take short breaks. And while form starts to emerge, any sense of harmonic structure stays fairly obscured. The question remains whether OV was actually composed or not. I'm going to say that it was. Regardless, in my eyes, bands like Orthrelm are carrying the modernist torch, and it's amazing to see what kind of fucked up path that torch has taken to reach this point. If anything, Orthrelm make one thing clear: Terry Riley and La Monte Young's shadow still looms over music in 2005, but so does Yngwie Malmsteen's. Check it out.

1. OV

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