Orwell’s latest album, Avohfasih, is a beautiful confluence of atmospheric metal, melodic death metal, progressive metal, and painful yet inspirational lyrics. A careful listen will yield brutally powerful and sludgy music, that never fully crosses over into pure aggression, but it does flirt with it. Also, the lyrics are fiercely honest, like a sucking chest wound in need of some medical attention.
I don’t usually have high expectations when someone from back home recommends that I check out a local band. It usually ends up being something mediocre, suited best for a bar and nothing more. But this is not the case with Orwell; they are surprisingly excellent, especially for an independent outfit. Their sound is complex and unified, with enough original elements to make it unique without becoming gimmicky.
Although Orwell describes themselves as a continuously progressing metal band comprised of elements of post-metal, melodic death, and a variety of other elements from all forms of metal andmusic, they’re none and all. They are one of those rare bands that’s hard to pigeonhole.
A quick look at the song titles on this six-track album reveals an obvious theme, but the overall metaphor uses nautical imagery, primarily the idea of being lost at sea and often drowning. In the end, our protagonist heals, finding himself on solid ground once again. Since Orwell put in the effort to compose such an excellent, and suspiciously autobiographical, tale on Avohfasih, it deserves to be explored a bit. Here we go:
The story begins with the track “In Tides I Wake,” which is about being trapped in nautical prison of depression and wanting out so badly that death (“sinking”) seems to be a more promising option. The song reveals that our protagonist has come to the realization that he has built his prison (i.e., caused his own depression or, as Orwell puts it, “self-made misery,” or as William Blake might have put it, “mind-forged manacles.” It’s a heavy, slowly building track that intensifies at the 5:00 mark. The outro is what will hook you in to hear more; Orwell’s use of xylophone or triangles, whatever the hell it is, is amazing and unique.
“In Crude I Remain” is, again (get used to it), about sitting and festering in depression, and as our protagonist is searching for a way out, his previous existence and everything he has known slowly slips away. The disturbing lyrics are accented by haunting guitars, and at 3:35 the tempo increases to symbolize the frenzied, near panic, desire to escape the depression.
Find out what the rest of Orwell’s Avohfasih has to offer and what our final verdict is…
Tombs, YOB, Thrice, Mastadon