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Marco the man - 84%

MikeyC, January 19th, 2019

Kallipolis, or “beautiful city” in Greek, is both Orator’s debut album, and the nice yellow cover art. For a band in its infancy, this is impressive death metal and shows a band that’s got more chops than their age suggests. Opener “Kallipolis” starts with a nice clean guitar section before the metal kicks in. This song is a pretty decent introduction to what you’re in for with its swirling riffs and hyper-fast drumming. It blends seamlessly into “Emperor” and by this point the tricks the album will throw at you will be revealed.

First and foremost, the drumming here is absolutely insane, which isn’t surprising considering the exceptionally talented Marco Pitruzzella is the one behind the kit. He is in numerous bands and offers his services as a session drummer for even more death metal projects. His drumming style is very intense and it’s a love-it-or-hate-it paradigm; on the one hand, his speed is almost unmatched and can play really fast for a really long amount of time, however on the other hand his drumming isn’t creatively adventurous and quite triggered. Me, personally? I don’t care that it’s triggered. I think he’s a fantastic drummer and I’m usually a fan of the projects he’s in (special mention to Anomalous who created one of the best technical death metal albums I have heard). Orator is no different in that regard, as this is another project I can get behind. Marco’s drumming is, yet again, the highlight of any album he’s on and that rings true here. He blasts and kicks his way around with such speed and aplomb that it’s hard to ignore. I’m a big fan of his drumming and I guess that’s going to positively bias my score. Shrug.

The riff work is still impressive, pulling out chugging and rolling riffs all over the place. I quite like the lead work as that’s where the more memorable parts come out. There’s some nice solos, such as in “Mentor” and “Follower.” The solos are neither bombastic nor wanky, rather they fit the music quite well. I don’t think it matters too much as there’s a lot of other things going on to fill that gap. Vocals are a harsh yell. I like the fact that there’s some sort of legibility to the lyrics, but I can see that the style might be an acquired taste.

“Emperor” is more intense and flowing for its runtime, but the songs don’t always follow that sort of feel. “Elder” has a punchier, pounding feeling with its main riff and is a bit more of a headbanger. Then there’s “Follower” which is a mostly instrumental piece until the very end and contains more melody and the bulk of the album’s solos. So, despite the songs all following similar traits, each song does actually have its own identity and can stand alone.

A level of criticism will be the short nature of the album. The intro track notwithstanding, we’re left with just five songs. These songs are quite lengthy for this style of death metal, but it’s still an album that only just cracks the half-hour mark. When the album ends I’m always disappointed that there isn’t any more music to listen to. I guess this makes the album highly repeatable, which is what I have done, too. Despite the intense nature of the drumming and the hard-hitting riffs, the album itself is very easy to digest and isn’t that difficult of an album to listen to. For people not into this style of clear, hyper-blasting death metal, this album would actually be a good place to start. The drumming and vocals may be the points of contention and the reason someone may enjoy the album or not, but to me this is some very good quality stuff and worthy of picking up.