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2020-09-14

PLAGUE ORGAN - Orphan

Wow. I think this is already my third review this month in which I have to use Phurpa of all bands as a reference. But then - what about the following mind-melting, absolutely bonkers album could I have anticipated?


PLAGUE ORGAN - Orphan (Tape) (2020)


Well, of course it was clear from the start that this would not be dream pop. No, this has to be mean stuff. Indeed the creepy yet majestic cover artwork, the name of the band and its sound form a paramount example of a perfect artistic synergy.

Plague Organ is a project by producer Marlon Wolterink and the always occupied René Aquarius of Dead Neanderthals and uncountable other more or less musical endeavors.

Given the Neanderthals' reputation of stretching minimalistic ideas to extreme lengths one enters this album, which is made of just one track of forty minutes, with a healthy dose of respect. Will anything "real" happen during all this time?

The answer is: Yes, a lot happens. And it does happen in a way you probably won't have heard before.
The other answer is: No, because while there is tension building all the way, in the end nothing really gets resolved or concluded

If we're speaking in terms minimalism and maximalism, I would say it's fair to attribute both to "Orphan", because this track contains lots of different layers, which on their own can be very simplistic,  but stacked on top of each other grow to a cacophonous, almost trance-inducing effect.

Imagine a slowly-moving dark ambience, in which the strings of Sunn O))) mix with various ominous  sounds of unknown origin, floating seemless between creepiness and meditation.
Imagine shamanistic throat singing vocals (insert half sentence mentioning Phurpa here) adding yet another droning, spiritual layer and mixing with super guttural death metal grunts.
Imagine all this growing and evolving at slow pace, filled with details you might only catch listening over headphones.

And yeah, of course don't forget the rhythmic backbone of all this, which is Aquarius in ridiculous furor relentlessly blasting a fast thrash beat over this whole fucking thing!

The drums are accompanied by a weird, potentially annoying string sound which raises the challenge of listening to the piece, yet also adds a lot to its ritualistic character.

In a way the concept of "Orphan" reminds me a lot of "Bloom", the opening track of The Necks' recent album "Three", where you also have to overcome the obstacle of a permanent, extremely busy and demanding percussion inferno of a beat, but as soon as you manage to filter it, so you perceive it only as a backdrop noise, the full hypnotic effect of the track sets in.
Plague Organ just operate with darker ingredients, transfering a similar idea into the context of black metal aesthetics. 

Lulling abrasiveness. Brutal hypnosis. Transcendent lunacy.

Avantgarde drone metal in perfection.


So far Plague Organ's debut has been released digitally and on beautifully designed tape.

Sentient Ruin Laboratories are also working on a vinyl release right now.




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