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ORTHRELM

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Orthrelm biography
ORTHELM is an extreme avant-garde metal band formed in Washington, D.C. in 2000. The band is a duo consisting of guitarist Mick BARR and drummer Josh BLAIR. BARR is well known in the musical underground for his uncompromising agility and unconventional compositional style (or lack thereof). Mainly consisting of grindcore-esque extreme metal passages with free-jazz mindset, ORTHELM's songs tend to be short, concentrated, intense, and complex. Musician Weasel Walter has described the music as "densely packed with musical information: with little or no structural repetition, discreet cells of notes are often frantically reconfigured into every possible permutation with staggering speed, revealing a fractal-like inner logic that is both chaotically asymmetrical and perfectly ordered at once."

The band has released a number of releases since their inception, and the very principles of those releases show the band's ingenuity and experimentality. The band's debut full length album, "Iorxhscimtor," was released in 2001. Their second release, the EP "Asristir Vieldriox," was a 13 minutes long yet contained an impressive 99 tracks, each running at about an average 15 seconds. This was followed the same year with a split album with the band TOUCHDOWN. The band also released their second studio album, "Norildevoth Crallos Lomrixth Urthilnv," in 2002. They then took a short break before releasing their third studio album, "OV," in 2005, and a split with experimental metallers BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS in 2006.

:::Andy Webb, Andyman1125::::

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ORTHRELM Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy ORTHRELM Music


Norildivoth Crallos Lomrixth Urthiln [Vinyl]Norildivoth Crallos Lomrixth Urthiln [Vinyl]
Three-One-G 2006
Vinyl$10.70
OVOV
Ipecac Recordings 2015
Audio CD$3.66
$0.99 (used)
OV by Orthrelm (2005-06-14)OV by Orthrelm (2005-06-14)
IPECAC RECORDINGS
Audio CD$18.86
Split by Orthrelm (2002-07-30)Split by Orthrelm (2002-07-30)
Troubleamn Unlim
Audio CD$33.44
2nd18/04 by Orthrelm2nd18/04 by Orthrelm
Three-One-G
Audio CD$33.21
Behold... The Arctopus by OrthrelmBehold... The Arctopus by Orthrelm
Crucial Blast
Audio CD$43.95
LorxhscimtorLorxhscimtor
Revolver 2009
Vinyl$33.89
OrthrelmOrthrelm
UgExplode 2010
Audio CD$3.89
$2.99 (used)
TouchdownTouchdown
Troubleman Unlimited 2002
Audio CD$4.84 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Orthrelm-Ov (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $11.14 Buy It Now 12h
ORTHRELM Iorxhscimtor LP octis krallice ocrilim flying luttenbachers PROG THRASH USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
OCTIS Ocrilorx-2 7" EP mick barr Orthrelm / Krallice / Ocrilim extreme prog NEW USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
OCRILIM Annwn CD mick barr orthrelm krallice octis crom-tech Mossenek angelblood USD $13.98 Buy It Now 1 day
OCTIS Navlt 7" EP mick barr Orthrelm / Krallice / Ocrilim / Oldest extreme prog USD $8.50 Buy It Now 1 day
UPSILON ACRUX Galapagos Momentum CD virtuoso heavy prog / math rock orthrelm NEW USD $15.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Ocrilim ?- Purging Trilogy (limited ed 3xLP, 2010,Mick Barr, Krallice, Orthrelm) USD $33.38 Buy It Now 1 day
OV by Orthrelm CD USD $28.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Ov - Orthrelm (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.47 Buy It Now 3 days
Orthrelm ?- Asristir Vieldriox Vinyl, 12", Etched, Single Sided, EP, White USD $17.95 [0 bids]
3 days
ORTHRELM - OV NEW CD USD $11.12 Buy It Now 3 days
LP : Orthrelm - 2nd 18/O4 Norildivoth Crallos-Lomrixth (2002) NEW sealed USD $22.49 Buy It Now 4 days
Orthrelm-Ov CD NEW USD $13.24 Buy It Now 6 days
CROM-TECH s/t CD prog / hardcore Mick Barr Orthrelm Octis Ocrilim Krallice NEW USD $9.98 Buy It Now 7 days
ORTHRELM - OV USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.63 Buy It Now 9 days
Orthrelm - 2nd18/O4 Norildivoth Crallos-Lomrixth Urthiln (CD Used Like New) USD $8.37 Buy It Now 9 days
Orthrelm - 2ND18/04 [New CD] USD $10.38 Buy It Now 9 days
Orthrelm - 2ND18/04 [New CD] USD $10.71 Buy It Now 9 days
ORTHRELM - NORILDIVOTH CRALLOS LOMRIXTH URTHILN USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $10.66 Buy It Now 10 days
ORTHRELM - NORILDIVOTH CRALLOS LOMRIXTH URTHILN NEW CD USD $16.85 Buy It Now 10 days
ORTHRELM - Behold... The Arctopus - CD ** Brand New ** USD $35.49 Buy It Now 11 days
Orthrelm OV CD FASTPOST USD $3.94 Buy It Now 13 days
Orthrelm - OV - CD (Ipecac IPC64) USD $13.57 Buy It Now 17 days
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ORTHRELM 22nd18/04 Norildivoth Crallos Lomrixth Urthiln LP krallice BRUTAL PROG USD $15.98 Buy It Now 17 days
CROM-TECH self-titled (2nd) LP slowdime Mick Barr of Orthrelm, Krallice, Octis USD $10.99 Buy It Now 18 days
Orthrelm - Ov [New CD] USD $11.13 Buy It Now 20 days
OV by Orthrelm (CD, Jun-2005, Ipecac (Label)) (21) USD $2.95 Buy It Now 21 days
CROM-TECH self-titled LP prog-thrash /hardcore Mick Barr Orthrelm Octis Krallice USD $11.99 Buy It Now 21 days
OCTIS Ocrilim CD mick barr orthrelm krallice crom-tech flying luttenbachers NEW USD $9.98 Buy It Now 21 days
Orthrelm - Ov [New CD] USD $11.53 Buy It Now 22 days
BARR / SHEA / DAHL s/t CD brutal prog orthrelm krallice Last Exit child abuse USD $14.99 Buy It Now 24 days
CITY OF CHURCHES Memelust 7" EP tech-noisecore orthrelm seven minutes of nausea USD $4.99 Buy It Now 24 days
Orthrelm - OV [CD] USD $10.99 Buy It Now 24 days
BEHOLD ARCTOPUS / ORTHRELM - Behold Arctopus - CD - Ep USD $12.95 Buy It Now 25 days
FLYING LUTTENBACHERS Gods Of Chaos CD avant thrash no wave magma orthrelm PROG USD $14.99 Buy It Now 25 days
FLYING LUTTENBACHERS Revenge CD avant thrash no wave magma orthrelm hatewave NEW USD $14.99 Buy It Now 25 days
(GX888) Orthrelm, Orthrelm - 2010 CD USD $8.00 Buy It Now 26 days
M.N.D.L.S.B.L.S.T.N.G. Infinitum A.D.D. Nauseum LP speedmetal prog Orthrelm NEW USD $15.98 Buy It Now 29 days
KRALLICE Ygg Huur CD DIGIPAK math/prog metal orthrelm behold the arctopus geryon USD $15.99 Buy It Now 29 days
KRALLICE Prelapsarian CD blackened prog metal orthrelm behold the arctopus octis USD $16.98 Buy It Now 29 days
INVISIBLE FROG Space Makes Noise CD Belgian guitar/drums duo prog-grind orthrelm USD $4.98 Buy It Now 29 days
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ORTHRELM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ORTHRELM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 4 ratings
Iorxhscimtor
2001
3.10 | 2 ratings
I
2001
3.10 | 2 ratings
II
2001
3.10 | 2 ratings
II / II
2001
3.67 | 3 ratings
Norildevoth Crallos Lomrixth Urthilnv
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Touchdown / Orthrelm
2002
3.13 | 15 ratings
OV
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
Orthrelm
2010

ORTHRELM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ORTHRELM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ORTHRELM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ORTHRELM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Asristir Veildrioxe
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Orthrelm / Behold... The Arctopus
2006
5.00 | 1 ratings
20012
2012

ORTHRELM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 OV by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 15 ratings

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OV
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The metal universe has always been about borrowing disparate ideas and methodologies from other varied musical genres from all around the world. After all, the whole genre began by taking the psych laden blues rock of the 60s and dragging it down into the darker recesses of the sound spectrum to conjure up some of the most gloomy and sombre human emotions to emerge in its wake and simply cranking up the distortion level with darker lyrics. So it's really no surprise that as the simple blues inspirations became exhausted in the 70s that new fuel needed to be consumed for the metal machine to take musical inspiration and ignite so it will burn like a forest fire unleashing new hitherto unthinkable possibilities. ORTHRELM, the avant-garde music duo of Mick Barr on guitar and Josh Blair on drums had been leading up to this triumph of sonic glory called OV since their debut in 2001. While the metal world cross-pollinated like a lava flow smothering the fertile lands below a volcano it continued to ratchet up its complexity level and as it began to reach the unthinkable heights of the pinnacle of progressive rock, it was beginning to seem like there was nowhere left to go.

That's where forward thinkers like Mick Barr come in. On ORTHRELM's 2005 landmark album OV, the duo exponentially lifted themselves above the sheer math rock wankery that their earlier albums are known for. While classical music has certainly been a major part of the hard rock and heavy metal universe ever since Ritchie Blackmore incorporated it into Mark II period of Deep Purple, never before have the two extremes of virtuoso guitar shredding and the classical minimalism of artists like Steve Reich and Philip Glass ever come together until Barr and Blair released this album of polarizing extremes in the form of the OV album in 2005. Never before has an album of incredibly virtuoso shredding of guitar with the bombast of unthinkable drum abuse coalesced into a minimalistic music form that could result in a meditative practice if consumed correctly. As wild as it sounds, this album is in effect a wild ride into two musical extremes which incorporate guitar shredding with extreme minimalism simultaneously.

Despite being limited to a mere guitar and drums, Barr and Blair are veritable beasts on their instruments of choice doing unthinkable things at a million miles per second throughout pretty much the entirety of the 45 minute and 43 second single track that makes up the album OV. After several albums of pluming their feathers and ruffling them up to impress the music fans, on OV, the duo known as ORTHRELM finally delivers the promise they had been hinting at without sacrificing the intensity that they had been implementing all along. What's cool about OV is that it goes through a series of passages that begin with a minimalistic chord progression to wail on for several minutes and seduce you into the feel of the composition and going though various changes before finally letting loose towards the end with a series of intense riffs, shredding bombast and excruciating deciblage. This is metal unlike any other and only continues the duo's unique musical language that only they alone truly understand.

OV is a trumph in many ways. Not only does it undoubtedly indoctrinate Mick Barr into the world of fastest shredders which should not leave Josh Blair off the hook for some of the sickest drum abuse in the entire music history books but also proves that creating unthinkable speeds is not tantamount to a lack of regard for sensuality. While on previous albums ORTHRELM did seem to generate random patterns of musical intensity, on OV everything seems like the perfect cross-pollination of the most intense musical shredding session one can think of in the context of a relaxing vipassana retreat. As the single track rolls by it is engaged in a very mindful interaction between the two instruments that change up the parts ever so slightly but then without warning they divert to some new arena of musicality but always mindful of each other's role in the overall scheme of things. OV successfully ratchets up the tension to a fulfilling climax by the end of the album where the guitar and the drums practically become one with another and take on enough roles to simulate the intensity of a full band. OV is one of those albums that must be heard to be understood. It's simply too far removed from the context of any possible labeling.

 II / II by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.10 | 2 ratings

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II / II
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars ORTHRELM made quite the debut in 2001 by not only releasing their first EP but also three albums as well. While the lengths may make one consider EP status, considering how technically crazed the music is makes it quite acceptable that they didn't churn out over lengthy album. After two albums titled ORTHRELM I and ORTHRELM II comes the third installment with a brown-hued cover un- intuitively titled ORTHRELM II / II which like the second edition consists of 48 short tracks with most not even reaching the minute mark with only one clocking in at over two. The duo of Mick Barr on guitar and Josh Blair on drums continues to crank out some of the most aggressive combo of guitar shredding meets proggy math rock.

ORTHRELM II / II continues to follow the trajectory of the previous releases and like the No. II continues the punk-infused energy concentrated into short tracks but on II / II the duo branch out in the dynamics significantly more but not playing at the speed of light all the time. Untitled track #12, for example, is actually mostly slow and focuses on nerdy math rock time signatures for the first minute before exploding in pyroclastic math rock flows all over the place. While Barr and Blair began this project merely imitating each other on their respective instruments, at this point they've taken their roles by the horns and actually create separate but equal parts although they tend to remain in sync in regards to tempo. Track #21 kinda sounds like an atonal attempt at the classical artist Rimsky Korsakov's 'Flight Of The Bumblebee'

On this one they begin sounding more like the Japanese band Ruins as Barr tones down his incessant shredding and actually engages in more punk chord energy and more bass oriented riffing. In some ways they remind me of a stripped down Psyopus or Behold'. The Arctopus as the math metal elements are more prevalent. Personally i think this is the best they put out in the year as it contains all the shredding you could ask for and more, all the snazzy jazzy drumming possible and also more variety in not just compositional structure but how different segments flow within a track. While still very much only the interest of extreme music lover craving punky metal elements married with nerdy math rock, this one offers a bit more outside of the chaotic speedfest that ORTHRELM has made their own by developing their own musical paradigm. While this is much better in variety it still sounds limited due to only the guitar and drums as the sole instruments.

 II by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.10 | 2 ratings

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II
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars On ORTHRELM II, Mick Barr and Jason Blair focus more on 48 extremely short tracks with most not even hitting the minute mark but at least one over the unthinkable two. The punk influence is strong on this one because instead of Barr shredding like a crazed madman nonstop for every track all the time with Blair's bombastic percussion along for the ride, these tracks are actually less frenetic (relatively speaking) to the previous releases however the technicalities of the math rock are more prevalent with more attention shown on the mindful meandering of the sonic storm into more patterned dynamics with Barr's guitar parts used for special effects rather than simply shredding like it's the end of the world.

One of the most noticeable developments from ORTHRELM I to ORTHRELM II is that Barr isn't afraid to riff on the bass notes of his guitar and actually utilizes punkish power chords instead of incessant tinny treble shredding all the time. Likewise Blair has pushed his technicalities into more focused arenas that find more diverse colors in his percussive playing abilities. Perhaps the brevity of the tracks allows the speed to develop tracks more efficiently so that the members don't feel they have to linger on in robotic monotony for too long and likewise when they are on fully fueled spastic mode where everything is whizzing around at a million miles per second, the tracks tend to be very short some with some lasting less than ten seconds. The 2 minute and 34 second 24th track stands out the most because it contains little frenetic chunks of chaos punctuated with silence before turning into the seemingly formless pummeling parts.

This is hardly the stuff of most music lovers' dreams. This is reserved for only the most adventurous musical techies out there who crave the most extreme cross-pollinating features of brutal extreme metal with punishing prog math rock. I wouldn't go as far as many in saying that this is void of all emotional content. That is never true of music. This is definitely not warm, fuzzy feel good music in any way and reflects a sense of bleakness and helplessness as if highly advanced technologies have suddenly taken over the planet. This is in the realms of the surreal where Barr and Blair have virtually created their own musical lexicon with a syntax spoken by no other therefore the music will come across like listening to poetry in an obscure indigenous language that has never been heard before. For those into divorcing everything familiar, this is an interesting ride indeed but at the same time the monotony of only two instruments is what keeps this from being totally exciting in my book.

 I by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.10 | 2 ratings

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I
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars ORTHRELM I picks up after the debut and develops the song structures significantly. Whereas "Iorxhscimtor" focused primarily on Mick Barr's extraordinary shredding skills and Jason Blair's bombastic drumming style, little emphasis was placed on the math rock infused compositions. While that EP debuted the duo's idiosyncratic musical language that will remind you of no other, ORTHRELM I creates a more varied palette of musical madness despite everything being on extreme hyperactivity mode with ceaseless shredding and skin pounding. The production is also of better value with less of a harsh noise intensity and a somewhat more smoothed out veneer.

Barr has stated in an interview that this music reflects the chaoticness of infinitely small and represents the quantum jumps of molecules at the most fundamental level of the construction of the physical universe. If there were to be any comparison at all it would have to be with the Japanese band Ruins who for the most part are also a noisy duo trying to create some of the harshest and unorthodox music chaos possible. ORTHRELM simply takes this same approach and injects it with steroids, cocaine, crystal meth and gallons of caffeine. This music is a nonstop math rock shredfest that is totally designed for the most unnerving reactions and a display case for the inhuman physical prowess of the two members hammering out some of the most intense sonic destruction possible.

While the magnitude of these two playing this stuff is thoroughly impressive, i can only feel that it sounds incomplete with only two band members. I would prefer to hear other instruments whizzing about creating unthinkable counterpoints that take the music to another level since only two instruments whizzing about at full speed becomes a bit monotonous. Yes, i'm a lover of extreme music of all forms and virtuosity is a sign of high art. ORTHRELM succeeds in creating high art at a low level meaning they opt for an intentional lo-fi DIY operation that takes some of the most disciplined skills in the musical kingdom and divert them into a form of controlled chaos. Extremely impressive but not something that beckons a return listen often.

 Iorxhscimtor by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.04 | 4 ratings

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Iorxhscimtor
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars ORTHRELM is one of the many side projects of Mick Barr who is probably best known for his work with the avant-black metal band Krallice but has a rather prolific output under different band names including Crom-Tech, M.N.D.L.B.L.S.T.N.G, Mossenek, Quix*o*tic and The Flying Luttenbachers just to know a few. ORTHRELM is basically a mere duo with Barr on guitar and Josh Blair on drums. The not so easy to pronounce debut IORXHSCIMTOR was their debut EP that showcased their most unorthodox avant-garde metal sound which not only displays Barr's uncanny ability to shred up a storm on the guitar but also the highly experimental compositional styles that show no relationship to any form of classified musical style. This sonic assault seems to exist in its very own universe.

IORXHSCIMTOR is a short EP only lasting 16 minutes 28 seconds but packs in enough energy for 100 brutal death metal albums and a few hardcore punk albums on the side. While the shredding of guitars is incessant and every single note whizzes by at a million miles per second, the compositions are actually rooted in a very nerdy technical form of math rock with bizarre time signature changes and atonal chordal progressions. While Barr performs unthinkable guitar gymnastics on the guitar, Blair blows the roof off the house with his virtuoso percussive performances as well more than keeping up with Barr. In fact the duo pretty much play in sync with one another no matter how chaotic the noisefest becomes.

Despite the music being turned up to 11 almost all the time, there are moments of just plain math rock that do little dances in bizarre time sigs with peculiarly arranged notes juxtaposed next to one another. This is the epitome of extreme avant-garde metal as the tempo is about as quickly played as humanly possible while the noise factor is ratcheted up to extreme irritation mode. This will definitely bug your parents and it's unlikely that anyone except the most hardcore adventurous music lovers who crave every aspect of the disparate strains of extreme music all in an orgy together will even remotely like this. Personally i am a glutton for punishment and find this appealing but fully admit that this is indeed extreme for the sake of extreme without much thought put into diversity amongst tracks.

 OV by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 15 ratings

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OV
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars WARNING: I feel that maybe reading this review can spoil the very unique experience (either good or bad) that this album delivers, particularly on the first listen.

I think that in general, when I find an album that I like, I generally know why. Moreover, I don't understand how can someone else can't like it (my mean mean brain works that way).

This album does neither. I don't understand why I like it so much, and I do understand why so many people hate this.

But the truth is, that I love this album dearly. It is a meditative experience that in the purest ways, cleans the body out of all toxic waste, while leaving it drastically altered and disturbed. So yes, rather a paradoxical experience.

There really isn't much to say about the album. It is more or less, minimalist complexity. One 45 minute song. Mick Barr, the insane shredding monster that he is, pretty much exercises the same insanely dissonant, shred-type riff, for about 17 minutes. It is in a way the ultimate test of patience the first time around. Josh Blair's drums just drive this riff forward,- rolling tom tom and bass drum grooves that are hypnotizing you and putting you in some demonic state.

Every time there's a drum fill, you expect something different. But no! You will get the same repetitive riffing, again and again and again. When in the 17 minute mark, the drums finally stop and Mick Barr changes riff, it is almost like bliss. It almost like finishing a hard work out and the great feeling after it- a feeling of achievement as much as pleasure.

But pretty quickly Mick Barr does different riffs, but constantly repeats them once again. You cannot say, that this man doesn't have stamina. To be able to be treble picking straight for 45 minutes, is quite the achievement.

The riffing goes on and on and on.

When you listen to this album, while knowing what to expect, it not only becomes easier, but rather enjoyable in a way. You get hypnotized from the whole ordeal. The fact that this album can rather easily be shortened to a 5 minute version, and still have all the riffs in there, can actually make the album go by incredibly fast. It's the ideal way of time travel, sort of. It shows you how 45 minutes can feel like 10.

So, while I love thing, I don't find it remotely essential, for anyone, as most will definitely hate it, understandably so. It's repetitive, exceedingly dissonant, headache inducing at times. But if you want one of the more bizarre experiences of your life, listening to this. Whether you like or not is to be seen.

 OV by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 15 ratings

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OV
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Shred Noise Experiment with Very Narrow Use

Intentionally abrasive noise experiments always tend to split listeners into a majority that never get past the noise, a small number of fakers who cry "Genius!!!" just because it's wierd, and then the minority of people who have enough experience with extremely (and I mean extremely) challenging music to actually given both a fair listen and proper criticism. Though I do not consider myself a noise expert at any level, I have a little experience with other works in this strange category. But more importantly to this particular group, I have alot of experience with shred guitar. The fact that I have myself spent hours upon hours working on picking patterns means I have a few circuits in the musical parts of my brain not everyone has. This is not necessarily anything to be proud of. It just alters my experience of this disc.

This disc simply consists of extremely accelerated math rock styled drumming (organic, loose, but complex) with repetitive shred guitar patterns played over the top. Imagine taking a measure of "Flight of the Bumblebee" played by John Pertucci and having him playing it 100 times, then playing the second measure 50 times, and then each subsequent measure 25 times. The intention seems to be to let the brain get accustomed to the abrasive sound and then to alter the pattern and then let the brain settle again, switch, repeat. Some have said this is good meditation music, and it might be for some people. It is completely different from the oceanic, sleepy sounds we usually associate with meditation. However, it might actually work to anchor the mind in the moment and allow one to tune it to the nuance of the now.

The guitar has a small slap-back delay that makes it sound double tracked which would have been absolutely impossible to actually do. But the result is that we get a feel of multiple guitars playing in unison over the pulse of the drum. The patterns themselves are circular, some more straightforward than others, but all about half a second long. Some are pretty boring, some a little more chaotic, and a few are complex and interesting of their own merit. The pick rate is not mechanical, and the human variation in the regularity of the constant stream of notes is where the interest seems to come. In addition, there are little pulse beats that appear due to the slight variation in synchronization between the drums and guitar.

In the end, I appreciate what these guys were trying to accomplish with this disc. I sampled some of their other albums, which typically had numerous small sketches with a similar sound. Those works did absolutely nothing for me because the meditation-like angle was completely gone with the short time frame. I could not listen to one of those albums all the way through, where I was strangely able to listen to this continuous 45 minute hailstorm twice.

To be sure, this is an endurance test. If you make it 15 minutes into the piece and think "surely something else is going to happen," the answer is "not really." There are a few sections with short open spaces but for the most part the intention of the music doesn't change. I think by that point if you were going to be able to get something out of it, you would know.

This is the defintion of a niche project, "fans only." For a very few, it will have some value. But it is mainly a curiosity, an extreme digression in a world where it is nearly impossible to do something unique. This is unique. But I could frankly imagine it being used for torture.

 OV by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 15 ratings

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OV
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

1 stars 'OV' - Orthrelm (2/10)

Although it is obviously my number one goal in music to find the best work and new sounds to digest, a side-project of mine has also been to fine albums that either completely contradict my concept of taste, or strike me as not only being bad, but downright unlistenable. Although Orthrelm's 'OV' has quite a few people who have found something 'great' in it, it is one such album that completely goes against how I enjoy music. Of course, the possibility is always left open that an album of this nature will revolutionize my views on music. In the case of 'OV' sadly, shred drone metal is not the pick of the day, or tomorrow, or probably ever. Comprised of a single forty minute composition, Orthrelm takes a handful of sloppy shred metal ideas, and draws them out to such a length and level of repetition that sanity may be lost half way through.

Usually, I would have plenty to say about the slight nuances and themes that pervade a forty minute piece. After all, they are usually a work of labour and love, and often meticulously crafted. Orthrelm may have put a lot of effort and care into creating 'OV', but my concerns lie with how the music has translated into the result I have heard, and am hearing. A two man group armed with nothing more than a handful of guitars and a drumkit, Orthrelm is not aiming for the lush arrangements and instrumentation that a typical progressive metal band has. You either have the chaotic drumming, or an unrelenting shred pattern that does not seem to give up. 'OV' opens up promisingly enough, with a bass note that pumps along, as if it were building up to something epic. By the time the overdrawn intro is up, a listener will have been filled in on virtually everything that transpires within the album. The bass disappears, and in its stead, there is an ear-piercing guitar shredding pattern. I cannot say it is even a 'guitar lick', because what comes out from the guitar does not sound like notes. Instead, three, or five, or <.i> ten minutes into hearing the exact same pattern sweeping up and down, Orthrelm's guitar sounds much less like an instrument, and much like a winged insect with baby-making on its mind.

I could say that there are more ideas to 'OV' than the shred idea, but that might imply that there is any sense of variety to this. Occasionally- and I do mean only occasionally- Orthrelm will break out of the shred to amp up the noise with some chaotic riff-chugs plucked right out of the math rock handbook. After being virtually condemned to the notion that nothing else would ever change in the sound, it is a pleasant shock to hear them do something else, but after a few seconds, the listener is treated to a variation on the same bloody shredding . By the end of this catastrophe, headaches were inevitable. Now, to those listeners who have found solace and enjoyment in 'OV', I do understand that the seemingly endless repetition does attempt to reach that feeling of being lured into a trance and hypnotized, and as unlistenable as this entire album was, the drumming remained fairly intense. However, when an album becomes a labour of willpower to properly sit through, it becomes clear that Orthrelm's music won't be appealing to me any time soon.

 OV by ORTHRELM album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 15 ratings

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OV
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Smegcake!

4 stars A radical departure from their previous work and most likely the most challenging. For me, it feels as if it is the anti-thesis of prog music in a way - despite the progressions in the music, they come after indefinite periods of time, where most of the record feels it is spent in an almost endless loop of minimalist repetition, played over and over and over again, yet placed in the strange and uncharted territory of minimalism; loud rock music. I doubt this will ever be replicated, as it is noisy, abrasive, seemingly endless, and quite honestly, hard to enjoy at times. At other times however, it is almost hypnotic, though there is always the noise acting to distance and disorient any sense of calm or peace one may associate with hypnotism. Running the mammoth length of 45:43, the single song album represents the pinnacle of challenging music, strictly for those whom wish to tap the deepest pits of challenging music. It reminds me of Naked City's controversial album, Leng Tch'e, based on the concept of the chinese torture method of 'death by a thousand knives'. That album's concept was to create a soundscape to replicate that ordeal from the perspective of the victim, and in that respect, I could appriechiate and admire the work, albeit distantly. Its short length ensured it did not overstay its welcome, however bleak and nihilistic it was. Here however, OV represents a minimalist concept that I find to be both alien and familiar. It builds off of familiar ground, repetitions which act to reinforce and build upon themselves to entice the audience into a lull. However, Orthrelm does not progress 'naturally' with OV, instead, pulling the carpet from under the audience every few minutes to begin with, as soon as the pattern begins to be settling as a flowing repetition, a split moment interval segues into a new, unexpected pattern which continues again, forcing the listener to orient their attentions to the piece once again. TO conclude. This is harsh, tough stuff people. Like Leng Tch'e, I appriechiate the concept. It is successful, I feel it will unlikely ever be repeated again, in rock, or music in general. Because of that, it is a standalone piece, unique and thus, worthy of four stars. Whenever you need a reminder of how far post-modernism has pushed the music as an artform, look no further then OV. Just remember, it's a long, hard trip to revisit more then once. Even once may be too much for some of you.
 Asristir Veildrioxe by ORTHRELM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Asristir Veildrioxe
Orthrelm Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Smegcake!

3 stars Now this is maddening music. I think the runtime in total is just over 11 minutes for this EP... yet there are 99 (!) tracks. Each has a small, jazz/avant fueled spasm of riffing and drum beats, some that last barely a second, with others that run for up to twenty. The thing is though...it's not very continuous. Well, to be honest, every track is seperated by a second of silence, which makes calling this 'progressive' very hard. Within the short tracks however, there is no sense of structure or form, just a burst of quick, unfiltered music which disappears as quickly as it comes. Then, in the same way, this happens another 98 times. Unsettling, abrupt and only for those who appriechiate the extremes of music, Orthrelm's EP is definitely a very polarising first effort, as their latter works became so well known for amongst their math rock fan base.
Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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