Orbital Frame – Orbiting Catastrophe (2014 Spotlight) – This amazing experimental technical death metal band is currently unsigned and I cannot tell for the life of me why. First of all, Orbital Frame sounds like death metal in space and I literally mean that. Not only do these guys play off-kilter, but there’s also some absolutely tremendous keyboard playing here, which really seems to add more depth and dimension to the act, especially on later cuts on the album, when the keyboardist is truly allowed to shine. Let me put it this way, “Purging the Deceased 4:10” has a piano moment and a stab at gore vocals, which the listener won’t expect judging from the first portion of the song.
“Orbiting Catastrophe 8:30” drops all the firepower for a trippy X-files moment, which only sought to dazzle me even further and showed me the true power that these guys possess. You can’t tell me that just any band can throw keyboards into the mix and play like this either, because there’s just something about those keyboard compositions here that work so well for me. It’s something that you’d like more if you were a fan of keyboard and synth-based music like myself, and it’s not something you’d expect to hear in death metal.
While it’s true that some listeners won’t even be interested in this kind of stuff, wondering why there’s so much keyboard (and where in the hell did that awesome solo come from?) on the release, I find that it adds something more to a style that I thought was almost played out, like if Vitalij Kuprij joined a technical death metal band.
These mind-boggling compositions are what keep me listening and to be honest, I’d love to see them live. “Aphelion 5:21” brings in a moment that is absolutely astounding to my ears, as proggy Theremins play in tune with a calm atmospheric vibe made by gently tapping drums and slow acoustic rhythms. Then we’ll get an equally wonderful guitar solo, making me wonder who the hell these guys are and what planet they’re from. “Nemesis From The Skies 11:21” ends out the EP on a grand note, punching in pummeling brutality along with brain-shattering guitar compositions, and keyboard orchestral fare.
The whole thing sounds like balance and chaos in the same song, as it slips from insanity to calm moments of peace, albeit with the same harsh vocal uttering, the occasional guitar solo and stratospheric moments in prog mastery. Once again; who are these guys, where did they come from and why in the hell are they not signed? The fact that this EP escaped my ears last year is a grave sin and someone must be punished. Guards, bring me my punishment stick!
(4 Tracks, 29:00)