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Album Reviews : Orpheus Omega – Partum Vita Mortem

By on July 6, 2015

Partum Vita Mortem artworkFrom the opening moments of ambiance during the song “Conception”, the layering and complexity to ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ becomes immediately evident. We as the listener are brought into this new world of creation by Orpheus Omega; a symphony of birth, and the cosmic revelation of all that defines our own humanity. The concept behind ‘Partum Vita Mortem’, the third studio album from Orpheus Omega, is one that directly translates into, and deals with, that of birth, life, and death. From the opening seconds of “Conception” that trail into a beautiful, mysterious symphony to the conception of life, and toward the poetic creation of birth itself, it is a beautifully layered and enigmatic labyrinth that highlights right off the bat Orpheus Omega’s maturity as a band. This notion of maturity is further accentuated hit the one minute, thirty mark wherein the prologue to “I, Architect” begins before the song kicks itself into high gear. Illuminating vocalist/guitarist Chris Themelco’s vastly strengthened guitar work and drummer Matt Themelco’s resonant beats, the melodic riff that follows is merely one of many on this record that are perfectly infectious to listen to.

Across the thirteen tracks that make up ‘Partum Vita Mortem’, we are exposed to a wide range of depth and intricacy beyond anything that has come before it with this band. Not only is it in terms of the lyricism, of which is an easy standout here, but also in the synchronicity Orpheus Omega display as a band. More so than with their previous albums ‘Bleed The Way’ and ‘ResIllusion’, ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ show Orpheus Omega truly coming into their own, and I dare say, finding that elusive sound that defines them.

As it stands, with their second single “Karma Favours The Weak”, it demonstrates on its own a side to Orpheus Omega I never expected to see, but that complements the rest of the music and band remarkably well. I speak here of Chris’ clean vocals. I’ll admit, the first time I heard an advance preview of this song, I didn’t actually realise that it was Chris singing, and had assumed it was the work of guest vocals. Once I found out the truth of the matter, it was a pleasant and welcomed surprise. The cleans blend seamlessly into the mix, and never overshadow the harsh vocals. Rather, they add an unexpected, yet promising element to the mix. The cleans arrive almost as this type of sorrowful cry for the abandoned and hopeless; a call for help that is amply received and returned twofold by the growls and relentless rhythm section.

To touch on the rhythm section for a moment, this is a side to ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ that warrants discussion. As I mentioned before, there is a remarkable synchronicity here between the band and their music. Whether it’s in Keswick Gallagher’s keys that flutter above the mix like a moth through a decimated city (just listen to the openings to “Practice Makes Pathetic” and “Echoes Through Infinity”); or in the guitar and bass work courtesy of Joao Goncalves and Nathan Mesiti respectively, one of the biggest credits I can give ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ is that this album flows splendidly. To achieve the full effect of this album and to feel its full impact, it is highly recommended to listen to it in a single sitting, and preferably more than once. As I mentioned earlier, there is an incredible depth to this album, and I find myself continually discovering different and newer elements to it every time I listen through the album anew.

Whilst each track on ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ achieves something of merit, I will say that “Echoes Through Infinity” stayed with me most after my early listen-throughs of the record. Perhaps more so than the others, this song displays a real sense to Orpheus Omega’s development as a band. From the cold, withering intro performed on piano, to the harsh and clean vocals that with every step echo with the pain of their own words; and further to the mimicking guitar line that plays off the early notes of the piano line, this song hints towards a new direction for Orpheus Omega. One that is a bit more cerebral; a little less bombastic; but just as punishing and with just as much direction and purpose.

Orpheus Omega have done something here with melodic death metal that, whilst following in the footsteps of their forebears Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates, have more importantly managed to step beyond the shadow of their influences to reach something they can rightfully call as uniquely their own. Never once on ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ do Orpheus Omega sound as if they are simply another band imitating the style and genre of In Flames or Insomnium, for example. They sound like their own band, and that is something worthy of celebration. As brilliant as their previous two albums were, with ‘Bleed The Way’ and ‘ResIllusion’ Orpheus Omega hadn’t yet found that element to their music that made them appear musically as only themselves and nothing else. With ‘Partum Vita Mortem’, they have. And that is honestly the best commendation I could give this record.

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.