Sometimes my masters at Ave Noctum towers send strange materials for me to review here at Spenny dungeons, and surely this is one such, a re-release of a 2011 demo EP, with added bonus track, all pending a 2014 LP from a band I’ve never heard of, namely the self titled release from Oruga? Yep, that’s pretty strange, especially when you add in the fact that this reissue had a November 2013 release date but only appeared for review late December, yet will most likely be my first review of 2014. If reading that made your head shake, think how I felt thinking and typing it!
Firstly, ‘EP’? These 6 tracks come in at about the 40 minute mark. I’ve many so called LPs that are a lot shorter (‘Reign In Blood’, 10 tracks, 29 minutes, anyone?). Secondly, who are Oruga? I read the blurb, I did the on line searches, but somehow they have managed to remain below the radar. In a world where a kitten yawning can get millions of online fans, somehow this French Stoner Doom (yes, I did say “French”, even if the lyrics are all sung in English) act have only managed to grab a few hundred “likes” on the social media de jour, Facebook. Is that fair? No it is not!
‘Northern Promise’ kicks off what I prefer to think of as their album. When I say kicks off, a kick would imply too much velocity for these sludge laden metallers. Maybe it would be better to say the band slowly jabs the album with their toe, the song being a fantastically atmospheric demonstration of how a stoner track should be played. Vocals are slow and pained; bass and drums drag along like the last reluctant refugees from a marijuana forest fire, and the guitar solo just drags itself from the speakers at the speed of smoke.
‘Kissing The Void’ follows, complete with growled vocals and a squealing feedback, the track sounding like it had been treated to the most perfunctory of an engineer’s tweaking when recorded, and all the while promising a sound that live will be at least as vital as the recording, and most likely more so. If ever a track could create the image of a live concert, this did, invoking an image of small sweaty bars filled with tattooed individuals gently nodding their flowing locks and luxuriant facial hair to the dragging beat of the band whilst clutching their ale or scrumpy, a real life scenario I am more then familiar, and happy with. ‘My 9/11’ ups the pace, but only in the way a swift charge from a defibrillator temporarily speeds up the pulse of a doomed heart attack victim.
‘Oruga’ is an album that refuses to be anything but uncompromising sludgy stoner doom, the French five piece capturing a sound that I would have once thought to be unique to English speaking bands. This reissue is supposedly a precursor to a new full length release; if this ‘EP’ is just an indicator of their ability, Oruga’s first full length release will surely be an epic essential addition to any stoner’s music collection.