DROTT – Orcus: Album Review

DROTT – the Ulver/Enslaved combo – explores a sonic landscape of light and dark on Orcus.

Release date: 24th September 2021

Label: Norse Music

Format: CD / digital / vinyl (incl coloured options)

Just a quick review as for a tremendous instrumental album that needs to be flagged and be heard. With Arve Isdal (Enslaved), Ivar Thormodsæter (Ulver) and Matias Monsen coming together as DROTT, their varied musical background ranging from metal and jazz to classical music, they create an invigorating new progressive sound. Inspired by forces of nature, superstition and spirituality, Orcus is a classic case of light within darkness.

I’m going to call upon a short album commentary to help explain the band’s ideas behind the journey undertaken on Orcus. Called by the distant and heavily reverbed string part on The Lure, we’re flung into the maze of Caerdroia. A deep rhythm accompanies the haunting flow, descending deeper and closer to the realms of Orcus. As darkness grows, DROTT grasps at every beam of light possible in Katabasis, before realizing the true nature of the journey. As DROTT faces the sad and gloomy shore called The Strait via a soft but angular tempo, contours of The Psychopomp emerge from the shadows, he is the guide of souls in the passage between the living and the dead. The climax of the first half is a wonderfully dark and ominous piece. An industrial undercurrent rumbles and threatens, always on the edge of exploding yet remaining restrained.

By The Lunar Lake recalls the echoes from the past. The whistling part is pure Morricone spaghetti Western – a strange analogy but so distinctive. A feeling of tranquillity and connection with the living, unaware of the Marauders lurking nearby. It does what it says on the tin. Tribal percussion conjures up visions of marching brigands sounding their horns and arming their instruments in preparation for battle. Quite brutal in fact. Escaping the savage Marauders, Grey Gull ascends, restoring a sense of tranquillity through a lush and slow-paced atmosphere. If there were vocals, they’d surely include an albatross flying overhead… A gentle see-sawing motif leads to the final descent through the percussive and guitar-led jig of The Arch Of Gloom. There awaits Orcus, the judge, punisher and purificator. The Lord of the Underworld. The title track is a show of strength, a powerful and repetitive riff providing the solid core on which a winding sequence builds.

An experience to behold, I’m set to indulge in the splatter vinyl option which should duly enhance my satisfaction of an album whose roots lie in the familiar yet branch into a colossal vision.

DROTT online: Bandcamp / Facebook / By Norse Music online

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1 reply »

  1. The Drott album Orcus is indeed a gem. Pretty dark and eerie in parts, full of good ideas, nice flow and pace that keep the attention throughout. I have long been a fan of Motorpsycho, Gazpacho, Arabs in Aspic and Airbag. This is another interesting Norwegian release. Incidentally, nice to see you are buying vinyl again. I might have a go at sourcing a splatter copy. Keep digging, Mike!

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