Orion Child – Aesthesis (Art Gates Records)

Friday, 10th May 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

Versatility allows bands to stand out amongst their peers, especially in the modern scene. Orion Child embraces that statement for their fourth album Aesthesis. The sextet arrived on the scene in the mid-2000s, combining the heaviness of melodic death metal with the steel might of power metal through their songwriting and performances. Drawing from influences across both spectrums as well as offering a multitude of weapons in the tool box as far as dual guitars, keyboards beyond diverse growl/clean singing options, the group appears primed to make stronger inroads across the globe through this set of material.

After setting the stage with the requisite ‘cinematic’ intro “Revel{AI}tions”, “Skhuldom” bursts out of the aural fray through a steady supply of crunchy, driving rhythms, virtuoso guitar/keyboard instrumental spots and potent double kick framework – vocalist Victor Hernández flexing all of his multi-octave melodic pipes as darker growls from guitarist Oier Calvo ‘Jones’ and keyboardist Jon Koldo Tera provide additional textual ferocity. The flow of the record contains a solid mix of mid-tempo, pounding affairs as well as heavier attacks – the guitar work from Oier and second axe man Santi Herrera infectious when teaming together or filling the space by individual presence as “When the Tide Arises” (think Scar Symmetry meets Soilwork next to Blind Guardian) plus “Reaching For the Stars” represent key tracks to their high-quality talent. Guest appearances from Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero during “Numbers Are Law” and Vhäldemar guitarist Pedro J. Monge (who also worked as producer) on “Forever” give extra flavor dynamics that never overstep the proper positions these main musicians capably achieve throughout the record. The larger-than-life choirs in specific choruses beyond cultural hooks should engage large throngs in unison chants – making “My Redemption” a mid-album highlight, the stunted guitar/drum syncopation reminiscent of classic Evergrey while Victor glides effortlessly in his upper range throughout the verses to a magnificent chorus payoff. The record closes with neoclassical / blasting flourishes during “Prisoners of the Past”, the musicianship, transitions, and hooks all encompassing next to catchy power rhythms with progressive touches.

The move up to Art Gates Records could put Orion Child into that surprising ‘why haven’t I heard of this band before’ category – as Aesthesis is an outstanding blend of melodic power metal meets melodic death, without sacrificing the unique qualities that appeal to most listeners. The sum of parts equals a thrill ride for all, the ascent should be exciting to watch if the band can get prime festival or touring opportunities.

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