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Low Orbit - Low Orbit (2014) review


Low Orbit "Low Orbit" (2014) 

At two and a half minutes “Space Capsule” is the shortest song on Low Orbit’s self-titled, self-released debut album, sparse sounds from deep in the cosmic nebula pulse and dart across the soundscape of “Space Capsule” making the listener feel like they are indeed travelling through deep space; the sounds of their own insanity the only sound for millions of miles in vacuous nothing they’re surrounded by.  “UFOrb” quickly introduces the drums and bass to the party though, before quickly exploding into an all out psychedelic stoner rock explosion of fury and noise!  There’s a dead ahead proto-metal stoner rock element to Low Orbit’s sound that is tempered with a penchant for ridiculously cool cosmic explorations into the outermost reaches of the psychedelic stratosphere!  Face melting riffage and mind battering solos come in wave after wave before you can find a moment to catch your breath at the conclusion to the mammoth five minute immolation that is “UFOrb”.  Even the name of the third track “WitchKing” sounds badass, right?  It does not disappoint, either.  The fuzzy nodded out bass takes the lead on “WitchKing” leaving the guitar plenty of room to fade in and out with blistering line after line of dosed out face melting lead.  The imagery of the lyrics are what really make the song for me, though; in fact, they’re what really sold me on Low Orbit to be honest.  They have a really cool way of combining occult, ancient history, science fiction and fantasy all into this amalgamate psych-o-lysergic Frankenstein’s monster.  “International Bass Station” is ironically is one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t start with just a single battering bass rhythm, but instead lets loose with a sonic concoction of synchronized bass, drums and guitar in an all out assault on your senses from the very outset.  If the other songs on Low Orbit haven’t been tuned down, stoned out or absolutely brutal enough yet than “International Bass Station” is here to remedy that fact.  What sounds like synthesizer or keys of some sort in the back of the mix actually appears to be the reason for the song’s name upon further inspection; it’s a ridiculously gnarly bass line that holds the entire song together and adds the dark ominous texture that the song is built around.  I’m not exactly sure what I though “Angel Lust” was going to sound like, but I don’t think that this is what I had in mind, but that’s probably for the better, ha-ha!  The slow trundling rhythms hang like the swinging arms of a giant, his gargantuan club dragging the ground and tearing through the unsuspecting towns and villages bellow.  Enormous breaks in the vocals allow for the bass to really open up in to an ethereal void of hypnotizing sonic head stew, and the guitars to take flight like some sort of giant griffin, majestic wings and razor sharp claws ready to rend flesh in the flash of an eye.  “Starships & Monoliths” perfectly sums up what I love so much about Low Orbit’s imagery in its title, a blend of classic psychedelia and contemporary stoner metal – pretty tasty shit if you ask me!  The rhythm of “Starships & Monoliths” is likely favorite on the album, the bass and drums are just in perfect synch here, crushing it through out with brain imploding results.  Guitarist Angelo Catenaro really seems to let loose for the first time on the album here, devastatingly heavy riff after riff crashes into the balls-out, fuzzed-out-to-the-max solos that finish the song.  Coming into “Lost” from “Starships & Monoliths” you loose none of the power and crunch on the guitar but the vocals are brought back into the forefront a little bit, following more with the start of the album and signaling a movement towards the latter half of Low Orbit.  “TreeHowl” is one of three songs on Low Orbit that clock in at more than seven minutes long, and when you’ve never heard a band before that can be a bit of a daunting thing to see, but Low Orbit don’t seem like they’re being long winded and most importantly they don’t get boring.  Their heavy reliance on Catenaro’s vocals and lyrics is a big gamble, but things are only going to get better from here on in and I’m already pretty taken with Catenaro’s ability to seamlessly transverse and combine different sounds, influences and imagery.  “Cosmic Wobble” is like a gut punch from Low Orbit, just to make sure that you’re still paying plenty of attention and know that the album isn’t done yet!  This completely instrumental behemoth makes me wish it was about thirty minutes longer; I could listen to an entire album of stuff like this from Low Orbit, easy!  I really love Catenaro’s imagery, but there’s an undeniable raw power to “Cosmic Wobble” that is due in no small part to the fact that it’s an instrumental song setting it apart from just about everything else on the album right away.  Low Orbit comes to a close with “The Sloth”, and true to its name, the intro is slow as molasses, at about the two minute mark though that cute looking three-toed bastard kicks things into high gear as the guitars take a violent turn towards the darkside, vocals simply howling through the distortion and fuzz.  It’s not until the series of solos start that it becomes really apparent why “The Sloth” was chosen to the end the album however.  The stuttering feedback and waves of distortion fading in and out of existence are awesome and I absolutely love the fake-out ending.  All in all, Low Orbit is a really interesting debut outing from a band that just kind of came out of leftfield for me, a pleasant and welcome surprise.  Make sure you pick up a download of the album or a CD below and let’s hope we see something on wax from these guys before long, wink, wink, nudge, nudge…

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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