Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Searching for Atlantis - 80%

colin040, June 28th, 2017

While mostly known for its massive amount of black metal bands, Greece also produced plenty of death metal bands in the 90's that were also on the atmospheric side. On Thorns I Lay are one of those bands. Their debut sounds musically confusing and the gothic rock Crystal Tears shows a much more softer style of the band, but here you get nothing but some atmospheric death metal not unlike the early works of Septic Flesh and Horrified. While those bands took you on a journey back to ancient civilization, On Thorns I Lay welcome you to the unknown world found deep beneath the sea.

Seriously, there’s something about these Greek bands that produced death metal like no other at the time (and if you know any more of these bands, feel free to let me know). Just like plenty of other Greek death metal releases from its time, Orama is very rich in atmosphere. The guitar tone could almost be described as aqueous sounding, giving the idea the riffs warble through massive sea waves. Unfortunately the guitar solos are a bit of a mixed bag ranging from quasi-emotional moving leads to annoying show off licks (this guy loves his sweep picking for some reason). The lyrics have a great deal of effect: It’s not hard to get carried away into your imagination while reading them. Another strong point is the steady drum performance; unlike plenty of other early Greek bands, On Thorns I Lay actually used a real drummer and it’s quite beneficial. Vocally you get the gothic-y beauty and the beast thing here which I don’t really mind. The harsh vocals resemble Septic Flesh somewhat, so props for that.

I don’t know whether Orama is supposed to be a concept album, but I wouldn’t be surprised if is. The songs flow really well unto each other that conjures a good sense of continuation. The only exception I can think of is ‘’Atlantis II’’, which starts off, leads into a long ambient section before picking up again. Except for that, basically everything has something to offer here, including the smooth interludes. ‘’The Longest Dream’’ is quite a voyage; a transcending hymn of majestic aggression that from the moment it starts never lets go. There are some seconds to catch your breath after the female vocals end, before the emotionally exhausting journey starts one more time. Other highlights include ‘’Aura’’ which arises from a dramatic soundscape caused by the keys before leading into a powerful verse of quasi-thrashing guitars. ‘’In Heaven’s Island’’ might be one of the least aggressive tracks but compensates that with its charming and soft atmosphere caused by the slower, moving riffs. It’s almost relaxing, yet fits well between the slightly more aggressive material.

Despite the musical style, I’d argue this is a rather catchy album. The riffs never sound overcomplicated, rather simplistic and definitely have a strong sense of memorability. Personally I’d have liked the band to come up with some more epic tunes, such as ‘’The Blue Dream’’, but I can’t deny how quickly most of these tunes would stick in my head. Unfortunately On Thorns I Lay moved on with the times rather quickly and would abandon their death metal influences after this. However, for those who look for more death metal in the Greek vein, Orama should definitely be worth your time.

An album to take to the beach - 90%

arcturus78, November 17th, 2011

This was and still is today a unique album based around the lost city of Atlantis. Considering it was released in the later half of 90's which is when I bought it, it sounds fresh today as it hasn't been spoiled by other copycat bands like the huge amount of Finntroll wannabes that sort of ruined that genre. This is no Finntroll with flippers, but a nice blend of death/ doom/ gothic and an ambient relaxation/meditation CD

There's a vast array styles and sounds. It starts off with blast beats, female operatic vocals, and strange echoed, growlingvocals. For the rest of the album you are treated to classic metal riffing and drumming and then a mixture of clarinets, sea scape ambient, chimes for water effects, and the sounds of birds, running water, and operatic and non-operatic female vocals with a few more growled vocals thrown in for good measure. The ambient of the cd is very relaxing and is clearly based around the hot, chilled-out atmosphere of the Mediterranean.

The pace of the whole album is very interesting. It's neither relentless or sludgy slow. It starts off quick-paced, starts to mellow toward the middle, and then goes into meditation mode and finally picks up pace again.

The production is excellent. The guitars can sound almost melodic Swedish and all the instruments can be heard loud and clear. The only problem, if it can be classed as one, is that the snare during the blast beats is very low in the mix.
As a whole, it's a great album and is best appreciated when living or visiting the coast. It will capture your interest from start to beginning as it's not too long and it's not repetitive. Well worth a listen and a great album if you want a cd with a difference.

Aquatic atmospheric doom-death- a masterpiece - 100%

Frederick, July 4th, 2007

I hold this album to be the masterpiece of On Thorns I Lay along with Crystal Tears album.
If you had to own two albums in their discography, Orama should definitely be part of your choice.

However you must be warned that this album is definitely harsher than the soft atmospheric material of their later album for which they are the most popular. This album might be less accessible for some as this one still contains much of their earlier death metal influences.

While their next album Crystal Tears is a typical gothic metal album, this one is some atmospheric doom death.

But this album is different from standard works that can be done in the doom genre. This album is characterized by some unique atmosphere: Deep, dreamy, aquatic and nostalgic at the same time. Everything in this album is meant to suggest oceans, water and idyllic islands of some sunny southern regions. The thematic indeed deals with Atlantis and other idyllic places in relation with the oceans.

Bassist, vocalist and main composer Stefanos Kintzoglou wrote:
"Written through the hot greek nights of summer 96'. This is the reason that all lyrics speak
about seas, oceans and of course lost islands like the dreamy Atlantis. I hope that they can touch your soul as mine..."

I guess they indeed succeed. A kind noble and nostalgic feeling about some lost oceanic Eden is running through the album from songs to songs.

The keys parts are deep and dreamy. The use of harp- and shakuhachi-flute-like exotic sounds in pieces like Atlantis I or II tend to reinforce the image of some ancient exotic places. By the way the main theme of these two pieces somehow makes me think of the romantic melody of the Chopin’s 9th study for piano in F minor even though in a total different tempo and flavour.

The guitars are heavy, slow and low with some deep emotional melodies. These associated with the deep growling of Stephano perfectly compliment the dreamy atmosphere with a feeling of desperation, loss and doom.
The ethereal and oriental tones in the vocals of Georgia Grammaticos and Roula are simply wonderful. These vocals associated with the dreamy and exotic sounds of keys also reinforce the image of some mystical or ancient forgotten places lost somewhere in the sea. The aquatic sound of the chorus effects used for the guitars plus the constant use of recorded sounds of the sea as a background behind the music also add to the thematic linked to ocean.

All these elements converge to create wonderful atmospheres that make this album so unique to my eyes.

If you like atmospheric metal, you will surely love this album