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Ordo Obsidium - Orbis Tertius Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Ordo Obsidium - Orbis Tertius

Ordo Obsidium - Orbis Tertius

Ordo Obsidium’s debut album Orbis Tertius isn’t exactly a cheery romp. It’s more of a wretched crawl through the cavernous depths of black/doom metal. Bone-chilling screeches and emotionless tremolo riffing are the lifelines to Orbis Tertius, which inject the songs with a morbid sense of devastation. Like other modern black metal acts, Ordo Obsidium is unafraid to play around with keyboards and acoustics. The album hits its mark when these outside influences are fitted in.

It’s hard to find any band that hasn’t been using the Internet as a way to promote themselves, yet Ordo Obsidium does not stoop to those tactics. It’s impossible to find any information on them, other than being from the U.S: no names of band members, no official web site, and few details on Orbis Tertius itself. This works in unleashing a mystique to the band that is an extreme version of Sweden’s Ghost.

“Nequaquam Vacuum” and “Emptiness Under The Moon” wear black metal pride out in the open, with lengthy periods dedicated to the traditional style of the genre. Nothing flies out of these tunes as impressive, but having it recorded to two-inch tape gives them an organic feeling, lacking the usual triggers and over-processed sounds of modern metal. Recording the album in that manner doesn’t mean this is a clean-sounding record, as it maintains the grit and grime black metal should have.

The other three songs on Orbis Tertius push the envelope, and do so in a believable way. “By His Unflinching Hand” restrains itself and takes cues from early ‘90s Katatonia. The acoustic guitars that strum away halfway through are a small taste of the three-minute acoustic outro that is the only self-indulgent moment on the album. The title track trudges at the pace of tar down a hill, a short-form funeral doom track that leaves a better long-term impression than the rest of the album.

As a black metal band, Ordo Obsidium is solid, though lacking in originality. Once the doom is incorporated, however, Ordo Obsidium becomes something greater. Orbis Tertius shows this working for and against the band, and as a first release, it may be a sign of what could come with polish and more time as a unit. Fans of the moodier side of black and doom metal will find the mysterious Orbis Tertius to be a pleasant romp through darkness.

(released October 11 on Eisenwald)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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