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Orodruin > Claw Tower ...and Other Tales of Terror > Reviews
Orodruin - Claw Tower ...and Other Tales of Terror

Heavy, Traditional Doom - 80%

DeviousDarren, January 31st, 2007

Orodruin’s new release, Claw Tower and Other Tales of Terror is a compilation of their first three demos. Claw Tower may be mostly rehashed material, but for most head bangers it is brand new. PsycheDOOMelic Records usually isn’t mentioned in the same sentence as Southern Lord or Peaceville: two labels featuring some of the best doom bands in today’s scene. Don’t let a lesser known label shape your perceptions, though, because Orodruin is a heavy weight metal band.

The album opens with, “Claw Tower” which is the only new song written by the doomed ones. As soon as the play button is pushed, Nick Tydelski and John Gallo let their bar chords ring. This first riff chugs along at a pace and tone that harkens back to the golden days of metal. The rhythm is mid paced, but with slamming drums and a mini blues solo, this song has a movement made for driving the expressway. Mike Puleo’s vocals begin with a modest range reminiscent of Aaron of My Dying Bride. Soon into Puelo’s lyrics, he hits an emotional note. His higher vocal range could be compared to doom metal legend, Wino. Speaking of Wino, this track has Saint Vitus written all over it.

The next song, “Creation Through Death (reprise)” is a remake from the first demo. This track moves like a George Romero zombie. Heartfelt lyrics and slow funeral dirges capture the emotions one may feel during a time of bereavement. A sluggish solo breaks in at the end of the first verse, which brings to mind how one may feel when the realization finally hits that a loved one is gone forever.

The next track, “Unspeakable Truth” is a live version. It would take a careful listen to determine that this is not a studio track because the production values are very solid. The bass really stands out in several places on this song. Near the four minute mark, the tone softens and Puleo’s voice rises and falls with the harmony of his bass. The bass line combined with the shorter beat of the drum builds tension. This tension is aggressively released once the guitars pounce back into the mix.

Track four is a cover of Quartz’s “Stand up and Fight.” This one has a Seventies hard rock feel it. It is heavy, but in a Dianno Maiden or 1970’s era Priest sort of way. “Stand up and Fight” ends the first chapter of the album.

The next chapter of Claw Tower is titled “The Beginning,” and showcases the band’s demo days. This chapter starts with two tracks from their 2002 Demo. The guitars sound is very dirty on “Epicurean Mass.” Sometimes poor production hinders a demo’s sound, but not in this case. For this style of metal, the dirtier the guitar sound, the better. The same can be said about “Pierced by Cruel Winds.” The bass is amazingly heavy here, and the vocals are very depressing. Also, there is a creepy organ fuzzily played through a processor near the middle of the track. An acoustic guitar accentuates the morbid feeling of the organ, and is played until the end of the song, like drifting into a never ending sleep.

The second part of Chapter 2 highlights the 1999 Demo. “Sons of Nature” is introduced with a soothing acoustic guitar passage. Speed metal riffs break up the lethargy to prove that nature can be both beautiful and destructive. The original version of “Creation of Death” is next. This track appears twice on this album, but rightfully so. The two versions contain the same riffs and lyrics, but the production, the vocal styles, and tempo all differ.

Orodruin stands out as one of the best bands in the Stoner Rock/Doom Metal genre. Fans of this type of metal should check out the PyscheDOOMelic website. There you will find more information about this overlooked band, and possibly find a wealth of other good bands pertaining to this genre.

Mixed Bag of Old & New Stuff - 70%

Lord_Elden, October 24th, 2006

I'll start with saying that Orodruin's debut album Epicurean Mass was near perfection delivering the miserable bells of doom upon our lost souls. Really a mindblowing record of Traditional Doom Metal. If you're awaiting similar stellar material from Claw Tower you're bound to be disappointed. Why? Because Claw Tower is just a compilation of old demos, a cover song and a little bit of new material.

So, what does Claw Tower offer exactly? Epicurean Mass and Pierced by Cruel Winds (the order on the booklet seems to be wrong switching the titles of track 5 and 6) are earlier demo versions of songs that already appeared on the debut. And I must agree with the nice four page booklet included with the album: the vocals aren't nearly as good as those provided on the debut. And that's not the only problem, the production is also worse and they don't generally feel as complete as on the album. Two somewhat inferior versions of songs from the debut with other words. Still interesting for the die-hard fans to hear these versions. Also included is the demo from '99. Here's a surprise, the two songs Sons of Nature and Creation Through Death are less Doom Metal and has more of this NWOBHM influenced Heavy Metal going on. Not stellar masterpieces but again interesting for fans of the band. Then there's the cover of Quartz' song Stand Up and Fight which perhaps could explain the NWOBHM sound of the early demo. As almost always the case with cover songs: the original is superior. Besides these there's a "live" version of the song Unspeakable Truth, I prefer the version on the debut but this version gives evidence of the tight musicianship of the band. Furthermore, there's a re-recorded version of the demo song Creation Through Death. The last track is what the booklet calls an early incarnation of Epicurean Mass entitled Deity of Wrath, it has some interesting church chanting but it feels rather half-baked spinning only for ca 2 minutes (then there's silence for 4 minutes, after that follows a clip of 20 seconds from the earlier Quartz song plus some laughter) rendering the track more or less useless. As for new material, there's one song (the first track) called Claw Tower. The song is a solid piece of Traditional Doom similar to the style on the debut.

For die-hard fans of the band it's worth to pick up this compilation to hear the '99 demo and the new track. Others should acquire Orodruin's debut instead.

(Originally written for under the moniker KingBizarre)