- Band(s): Orm
- Label(s): Indisciplinarian
- Release Format(s): Digital
- Release Year: 2022
- Review Date: March 6, 2023
- Author(s): Colin McNamara
Epic Black Metal is a genre that like Funeral Doom can take a lot of patience to stomach. Artists like Falls of Rauros, Xasthur, and Moon are well known for crafting 10 plus minute songs that carry a lot of interesting (or non interesting) weight, but for the average metal listener who is used to the typical 4 to 6 minute track, it can be asking a lot to listen for that long of a period of time. Denmark’s Orm, after the dissolution of By the Patient, has been serving up epic tracks since 2017, and with each album seem to be pushing it a little more. With ‘Intet*Altet’ it seems like one gets a sort of double album, with 2 tracks per ‘album,’ but clocking 20 minutes or more each time. For those used to Orm, this is pretty much what they did in the previous album but x2. Those who are not used to it had better be prepared for a good hour and half of music. The result however is less repetitive than one might think.
‘Intet*Altet’ is certainly Black Metal driven with the way the vocals are designed and the riffing, aiming for some icy, Folk Black Metal inspired rawness yet steeped in melody and a clean enough production that it doesn’t have the overlying hiss or crunch to it. The layered vocals such as on ‘Fra dyden’ help add dynamic to the music, bordering Black and Death Metal, and when things seem a bit too chaotic with the riffs they simmer down with just the guitar moments that are similar to the likes of Falls of Rauros, known for their own take on harsh and soft moments in their style of Folk Black Metal, but not nearly as epic. The softness seems a bit sparse and overly simple, but when the heavier sections are layered on top of them it sounds a lot better. Drumming has that percussive thunder to it that shines best during the quiet moments such as near the end of the track, but this is pretty much what one can expect from the likes of Orm: heavy sections broken up with softer interludes. Other tracks throughout are a little more ‘proggy’ in their interlude moments among the Black Metal riffs, which have that older Dark Fortress sound to them which is cold and evil, but not overbearing.
When the ‘Altet’ part hits there is a huge shift in sound. Avoiding Black Metal completely, listeners get a full acoustic, mellow treatment of what was breaking up the first two tracks in ‘Trance…’ Like the previous one this is heavily acoustic and prog mixed, but lacks the ‘oomf’ of the Black Metal driven ones. Thankfully the album closes on a furious note; ‘Mod døden’ is a little more Thrash Black Metal inspired from their earlier project of By the Patient with how much faster it sounds, almost like Raw Black Metal similar to Sargeist, but the melodies are held intact. Overall, older Orm listeners should be pretty impressed with the music but at the same time really ask if the band had to make a Norse mythology epic album like this, rather than do 2 separate ones. New listeners will take some getting used to enjoying the depth of the music brought on by just guitars, vocals, and drums, but the sound is still very theatrical without using keyboards, orchestra, or samples. The 2nd half of the album is better than the 1st half, but for what Orm usually accomplishes both fit well in their discography and continue their Norse mythology train very well.