Orpheus Omega – Partum Vita Mortem (Kolony Records)Sunday, 18th October 2015
Lots of proper ‘o check-boxes taken care of with Orpheus Omega’s third album, Partum Vita Mortem. Let’s see: There’s artwork courtesy of Dark Tranquillity guitarist Niklas Sundin, a guest solo spot from Nightrage main dude Marios Illopoulous, and the prerequisite matching band outfits found in their promo shots. But you know, most of the time, this is a one-way ticket to banal-ville, especially in the melodic death metal context. In this case, Orpheus Omega have pulled a legitimate rabbit out of the hat, turning in one of the year’s more in-line, true, and, enjoyable melo-death albums.
In and around the song-oriented, if not “poppy” sphere once patrolled by early 00’s In Flames, and later on, Mors Principium Est (who are the most likely sonic reference point), Orpheus Omega flaunts their melodic sensibilities like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a dearth of grueling, proto-death metal riffs to level the songs out, so if you’re looking to pick and paw at near-top flight melodic arrangements, then the shining “Karma Favors the Weak,” uppity “Breath’s Burden,” and Bodom-esque (circa Hatebreeder) “Tomorrow’s Fiends and Yesterday’s Ghosts.” And, the lack of clean vocals is just and proper, as it surely would have dropped these Aussies down a peg or two.
Hats off to the early Gothenburg bashing found on “Beacons” (love those exciting tremolo bursts and soulful solos) and closer “Silence, The I,” which is where the above-mentioned Illopoulous pops up, no doubt seeing more than a few similarities between Orpheus Omega and his prime work in Nightrage. But parallels, done-that riffs, and easy comparisons aside, the songs on Partum Vita Mortem have simply too much life to be cast aside. Being that this is the band’s third album, it’s quite obvious they’ve hit their stride. Their next obstacle will be getting the rest of the melodic death metal world to catch on.