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Orbit Culture - Rasen - 82%

John_e _C, December 22nd, 2020
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Independent (Digipak, CD-R)

Swedish melodic death metal band Orbit Culture has an impressive level of work ethic having released an EP and a full-length album within less than two years of being a band. In 2016 the group adds to their burgeoning discography with their sophomore LP Rasen and successfully build upon their past works while also proving they have plenty left in their bag of musical tricks.

If you thought that you had heard it all from Orbit Culture at this point, you would have been pleasantly surprised with album opener “Svartport” which introduces clean singing for the first time in the bands career. That is right, clean singing! One of the issues I had with Orbit Culture’s previous releases was that there was a slight lack of vocal variety to distinguish the songs. The bands decision to include melodic vocals solves this issue and breathes new life into the bands sound without sounding overtly commercial or contrived. Karlsson’s screams/growls are also in top form on Rasen and sound as menacing and powerful as ever against a backdrop of down-tunned guitars and furious drumbeats.

The instrumentals on Rasen are another of the albums strong points worth mentioning. The band builds upon the orchestral elements incorporated into In Medias Res and utilize horns and synthesizers to create atmosphere and epic soundscapes across the albums ten tracks. One of the many examples of this is seen on the intro to the title track Rasen, where the band uses metallic background sounds and pulsing synths to add ambiance to the guitars and drums. The band also makes good use of orchestration in the chorus of the track “The Haste to the Pyre” to create a chorus that sounds simultaneously epic and melancholy. This is coupled with beautiful melodic guitars in the verses and creates an epic melodic death metal power-ballad that could touch the heart of even the most stoic of metalheads.

The guitar playing has also been stepped up on Rasen as the band demonstrates that they have plenty of riffs to offer in their arsenal. The opening riff to “Obsession” is very catchy and memorable and “I, the Wolf” is certain to get the listeners blood pumping with its thrashy verses. Guitar players Niklas Karlsson and Maximillian Zinsmeister also show off their skills with many of the albums blistering guitar leads and melodic passages as seen on “The Umbilical Cord”. My only real gripe with the instrumentals on this album, as with some of Orbit Culture’s previous work, is that some of the chugging guitar riffs can get a little bit monotonous at times. However, this is a small concern as these moments are few and far between on Rasen.

With Rasen, Orbit Culture has taken elements from its previous releases and improved upon them in almost every way. Orchestral soundscapes are woven into each track at a masterful level and create an album that sounds bigger and better than everything that they have done before. The guitar riffs are also as strong as ever despite being able to benefit from a bit more variation however, Karlsson’s clean vocals add an exciting new dynamic to the band’s sound and keep things fresh and interesting. With this release, it is apparent that Orbit Culture have developed a sound of their own and that they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of metal.


Favourite Songs: Svartport, Obsession, Rasen, I, the Wolf