I do not normally bother myself with EPs. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with them; they can certainly tide you over during a long stretch between albums. For example, one of my favorite EPs is Metallica’s “Garage Days Re-Revisited” where the band bridged the gap between the Cliff Burton era and the Jason Newsted era. No, I mostly leave EPs alone because if they are good it feels like a bit of a tease when they end so abruptly. An EP that is only three or four songs finds me getting to the end just as I am beginning to get vested in the music.
This is merely a tendency, though, not a hard and fast rule. Once in a while I come across an EP so brilliant that I don’t mind putting it on repeat for a few hours. “Revenant” by the New Zealand/Australian band Orphans of Dusk just happens to be one of those occasions.
I will admit that I am a sucker for a cool band name (and Orphans of Dusk is definitely a cool band name) and having cool album art just seals the deal. So when I came across “Revenant” it was a forgone conclusion that I was going to give it a spin. Holy hell! You know that feeling you get when you have come across something that rocks you back on your heels? That feeling is the reason that I obsessively seek out new bands; trying to chase that dragon like a heavy metal junkie. Well, listening to “Revenant” left my awesome-metal-sense tingling.
I usually listen to new bands with a very heaping helping of skepticism. Nine out of ten new bands will do absolutely nothing for me. So based on years of experience I listen to new music poised to move on to the next band. I remember when I was younger and trying to create my own music I learned that you generally only had about 30 seconds to catch the attention of a label A&R person before they chucked out your demo and moved on. In my years reviewing music I have come to understand why that is: there is JUST. SO. MUCH. MUSIC. I don’t have time to waste listening to music that doesn’t excite me or inspire me.
Orphans of Dusk inspire me. Yes they do. The opening track, “August Price” starts off slow, dark and rather gothic. Alright, you have my attention, let’s see where this goes. After a brief spoken rasp the song kicks into high gear and the vocals become harsher. Then about two minutes and forty three seconds in, the deep, clean vocals kick in. This is where I instantly became a fan. When I listen to music I am always making comparisons to things I know, just to get my bearings and so I have a point of reference. By the end of “August Price” my mental checklist tallied up that this was death-doom influenced by Type O Negative and the mighty-yet-tragic Woods of Ypres. What a wonderful combination, right? When I went to the band’s Facebook page afterward I was pleased to find both Type O and Woods listed as influences. Can I call ‘em or what?
There may only be four songs on “Revenant”, but the EP clocks in at a respectable 27+ minutes. That’s like two whole grindcore albums. So while this is an EP, it is a nice and meaty EP. The other three tracks are equally inspiring and leave me with an appetite for more. The band has assured me that they are hard at work on new material, so I am hoping 2015 will see a new full-length album.
I know I have spent a lot of time rambling down tangential paths with this review, so let me sum up by being very clear: Orphans of Dusk are without doubt a death-doom band to watch. I cannot overstate how much I have enjoyed listening to “Revenant” and I think that they have a great deal to offer this style of metal. You should really put down whatever you are doing and listen to this band. I have embedded the opening track “August Price” below. Once you give that a listen, head over to Facebook and like the band, and then go to Bandcamp and buy the EP. You can also hear the band on our latest episode of the Metal Heads podcast (episode #12.) If you are a fan of this style, you will not be disappointed.