With two albums under their belt and a fast rising stock which has enabled them to support the likes of Dark Tranquility, Children of Bodom and Korpiklaani, Aussie melodic death metal merchants Orpheus Omega have a very Scandinavian feel about their sound. The album title (Latin for “Birth Life Death”) and presser both reveal this is a concept album which deals with the cycle of life. Without further ado, let’s take our first breath.
The album opens up with “Conception” which introduces the band with a dramatic sounding choir and synths. This grand overture of noise is joined by piano and string before the traditional staple of guitar, bass and drums all kick in giving this short instrumental a real intense, ferocious edge which quickly increases in pace before it explodes into “I Architect”. Keeping this quick pace and combining it with a hard hitting melodic death metal sound reminiscent of Dark Tranquility in terms of composition and vocal delivery, it is full of melodic lead hooks which are memorable, solid rhythm work and heavy riffling, blending the aggression of death metal with a huge slice of groove and melody to create a fantastic opening track. Keeping with this quicker pace, “Karma Follows The Weak” comes across as more early 2000’s In Flames like with its sound and use of clean and harsh vocals and as someone who prefers the older In Flames sound, this track is great. Tricky fills, hard hitting rhythm work, meaty sounding riffs and melodic lead lines with a solid sounding chorus keeps up the high standards of this album so far.
The rest of the album continues in a similar manner. “Practise Makes Pathetic” has a real powerful intro with an interesting synth lead melody and it shifts pace from slow and heavy groove to hectic in the verse whilst “Our Reminder” which follows it is another call-back to the early-mid In Flames albums with its intricate riffs, memorable chorus and lead melodies and a solo which sounds like something Björn Gelotte would come up with. “Unravelling Today” has a real sense of power behind it and sounds like it could be one of those signature live tracks for the band with the solid riffs and big chorus and the pace and feel sounds rather like Omnium Gatherum with its vocal and drum delivery. “Breath’s Burden” has some intricate clean guitar work which helps build up to some intense metal and fantastic synth melodies and “Tomorrow’s Fiends and Yesterday’s Ghosts” has a real solid head-banging groove to it and is another track which could be huge if played live with its tempo changes, intensity, heaviness and melodic work all coming together fantastic.
“Beacons” is a real gem of a track with its outstanding rhythm section work, subtle synths to give it an edge in the verses and its chorus which has that impact you want from it, blending the clean and harsh vocal styles to give a real great sound. It’s melodic and lead work is also great and the track just teases between groove orientated and melodic orientated, keeping you guessing what comes next. “Echoes Through Infinity” is a dark sounding track with a real sense of grandeur about it at times. It’s use of piano, string section samples and clean vocals helps give it a dark edge and when it kicks in fully with the distortion, it gets real heavy and some of the arrangements are fantastic, helping keep the dark edge to it. “Revel In Oblivion” is just chaos in musical form. Fast paced, hectic sounding and intense, it is a clusterfuck of powerful and rapid drums, virtuoso like synth soloing and killer guitar riffs which scream At The Gates and it sets up well for the final two tracks.
“Kharon” is the first real low point on the album for me which is a shame as it has been so solid up until this track. It has some interesting synth and sample use, but at times, despite how strong vocally it is and the pounding feel it has, it just feels like the guys tried to do too much on this track and there wasn’t any real spark to it. Thankfully “Silence, The I” brings that spark back to close the album with a real hard hitting, fast pace, venomously delivered slice of late 90’s melodic death metal, drawing an end to the journey of life reflected through the lyrics on this album and a much welcomed nostalgia trip sound wise.
Overall, this is a fantastic release. “Partum Vita Mortem” may openly show its influences, but it has taken just the right amount to not be a clone of them. Instead it blends them all together and with its own ideas and approaches, it creates something which feels familiar but is refreshingly new, giving it a sense of uniqueness at times. Orpheus Omega are one to watch for all you lovers of the Scandinavian sound. Get it, you won’t be let down.