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Oruga - Blackened Souls

Blackened Souls
by Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan at 21 May 2014, 5:43 PM

Doom….no…Ultimate Doom/Sludge ….that's what I just read….lol…ok. Well 'Sludge' is a dark, gooey, thick…ah ok I get it…lol. Just kidding. Doom, Ultimate Doom, Doom/Sludge Metal…to me…it's just Metal but real heavy too. Oh wow, I just coined my own phrase and genre…I shall call the beast. Heavy Metal! What, someone did??? Fuck sake. Listen, to have to label something to inform the listener of the intent herein may be a 'good' marketing strategy to the industry but, imagine you think you know what Doom or Sludge Metal is and hate it. Then you would write off ORUGA straight away and file this album in the 'Don't Like' section of your mind, but you would be wrong. If they did not have a label and were just a 'METAL' band…you may give em a decent listen…you may get surprised of course with the dark feel of the album but isn't that the exciting part and the reason to listen…? It's like wanting to see a film, seeing clips and thinking you know how it will be but going to see it and finding out it was great…and you liked it more than you imagined. Cool but what if you saw clips wanted to see it and the guy next you told you from start to finish what happened….wouldn't that spoil the whole experience…? Just don't let the industry labels put you off a band or album before YOU listen and make your own decision. Right here, right now you have a chance to listen to something and judge for yourself because “Blackened Souls” by ORUGA, while not a groundbreaking piece, is gloriously dark and heavy and worth every second of the audio pool you will immerse yourself in.

With everything turned up to around 15.6 (yeah 11 is now pass ay) this band assault the senses….opener 'Heretic' crunches along while atmospheric conditions surround you and a narration fills your head, with a real cool BLACK SABBATH type riff….to boot. Comparable to lots of 'DOOM' bands to have trodden this mud caked earth perhaps but let's deal with them on their terms.

They formed in 2010, are French, and this is their debut full length album. STONER Metal, they say, as well in their own blurb .but on reading more they then go one to say they are not labelling themselves but just pulling on their individual experiences and pouring it out from their souls, and THAT I can testify they do here. “We, The Darkness” is bursting with size and intent…massive sound is what I can say…it's darker than a hole in the ground where you are buried while wearing a hood with no eye holes…As slow as someone walking 500 meters across broken glass with no shoes or skin on their feet and heavier than a man carrying 1000 tonnes across the surface of the Sun with its gravitational pull. Cedric (Vocals) has a great delivery and give it a deeper feel too…not just noise for the sake of noise but something more and the guy is not simply one dimensional…”Dead Among The Living” is a great example of what I mean about Cedric, the chorus is sing able…I read someone reviewing who actually said you almost had to forego melody listening to this album. So don’t expect too much in that department, however, they simply did not listen to “Blackened Souls” because on this very track the melody is very apparent and strong, and again, the execution of the riffs by Julien L and Fred P are perfect, guitar work to enjoy in any dimension let alone a doomy one. A gentle raw guitar leads us into the next track “Disciples”; and then crunch they drop the safe on you again…now here you'll find more influences than just more doom laden bands atop ORUGA, and that for me stands them in. Well maybe not another field completely than the rest, but closer to the border edge for sure. Remember, when they tell you, ''Death is everything!''. Well, that, sex, eating, drinking, and maybe, TV too! Again on “Cursed” they manage to lead you into the unsure and unknown, taking you into some familiar and some not so territory during the narration of this track, both vocally and musically.

Maybe this is mood music, but just turn the lights off, put those headphones on and let it happen. Forget all and just let this 'Sludge' seep into your every pore. Finally we (or they do I guess) draw to a close on “Blackened Souls” with the enjoyable “Anneliese” which has several layers going on all at once…''Mother cried, each time and Angel died'' is a lyric delivered that stuck in my head days after I had listened to this album. Performance wise, I commend each player as delivering the best of themselves and I recommend you grab a listen…do not judge before you gave yourself a chance to lie back and let ORUGA slip into your mind. I can't guarantee anything, but I think you will come out of the other end feeling you were glad you gave it a shot. Here's to more albums…ALL HAIL!!

3 Star Rating

1. Heretics
2. We, The Darkness
3. Dead Among The Living
4. Disciples
5. Cursed
6. Ghosts Of Anneliese
Cedric M – Vocals
Bruno H- Drums
Pietro G – Bass
Fred P– Guitar
Julien L - Guitar
Record Label: Apathia Records


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Edited 19 January 2021

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