Orthodox - Amanecer en Puerta Oscura
Alone Records
Avant-Garde Doom Metal
7 songs (48'43")
Release year: 2007
Orthodox, Alone Records
Reviewed by Adam
Spain's Orthodox have already proven to be one of the more creative and unique acts in the current arena of doom, but apparently they really wish to hammer that point home. Their latest offering, Amanecer en Puerta Oscura is so experimental and avant-garde in nature that I almost hesitate to even refer to it as doom. However, it has just enough slow and beefy riffs to earn the title while simultaneously placing this mysterious trio in a category all their own.

Question: Do you like free form jazz? If you answered yes, then the opening track, Con Sangre de Quien Te Ofenda, is sure to please. There are plenty of "jam session" sounding moments throughout, complete with guitar riffs that would be comfortable as the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film. While I wouldn't consider myself a fan of this style, the song is more than enough to hold my interest. Of course, I couldn't help but yearn for the slow and pounding riffs found on Gran Poder, the band's previous album. Almost as if Orthodox anticipated this problem, a pair of asskickers follow just to prove that this is still a doom band at heart. The first, Mesto, Rigido e Ceremoniale, is an instrumental like the opening track, though it hits much harder and concentrates much more on riffing. There are still a few free form moments and progressive style drumming, but they are shrouded in distortion this time around. The next song, Solemne Triduo, immediately becomes the high point of the album thus far, with a deadpan main riff that begs you to slowly bang your head. This is also the first song to contain vocals, which are just as ghostly sounding as those found on the last album. It is at this point that the proceedings get increasingly strange. The title track is a short Australian outback vibed interlude, followed by the nearly equally short and odd piano interlude, Puerta Osario. I was a bit put off by these two "songs", especially after the rifftastic goodness that was Solemne Triduo, but not shocked considering how unpredictable this album had been up to that point. The next track, Templos, is truly an ambient nightmare. A simple, two note bassline carries the entire 15 minute runtime, accompanied by eerie passages of guitar, cymbal rolls, and I could swear I even heard a saxophone or clarinet in their somewhere. I would have to say this is easily the strangest entry into the Orthodox catalog, which is saying alot. It seems to drag on too long, but is still surprisingly hypnotic considering how minimalist an approach it utilizes. The final track, Parte II. Apogeum, is a continuation of Mesto, Rigido e Ceremoniale, which was music to my ears when I first heard that riff revived. Though the main riff is the same, the direction taken is different. For starters, Parte II. Apogeum contains vocals, making it only the second song on the album to do so. Parte II also sounds much less improvised than its predecessor, focusing more on a straightforward pounding doom attack which I would have loved to hear more of on the album.

On the whole, I would have to make the conclusion that this is a step down from Gran Poder. It still has its immense doom moments, but these are marred by the more plentiful moments of free form jazz styles and ambience. I have nothing against either of these styles persay, but I would rather not constantly hear them in this genre, especially knowing that Orthodox are more than capable of carrying an album of pure doom atmosphere. In the future, I would like to see a return to the obscure and heavy riffing of their initial effort. Hopefully, Amanecer en Puerta Oscura is the opportunity for Orthodox to get the jazzy jam sessions out of their system. Then again, with this band, nothing would surprise me anymore.
Killing Songs :
Mesto, Rigido e Ceremoniale, Solemne Triduo, Parte II. Apogeum
Adam quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Orthodox that we have reviewed:
Orthodox - Gran Poder reviewed by Adam and quoted 83 / 100
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