Thee Orakle - Metaphortime
Recital Records
Gothic Doom
10 songs (51:35)
Release year: 2009
Official Website
Reviewed by Charles
So, Thee Orakle, I hope you’re not going to be a loose cannon and rock the boat. I’m on the edge of my seat, but hold your horses, because the hunter has become the hunted, and… wait, what time is it? That’s right, it’s Metaphortime!

Curious name for a curious album. This is the debut by an unsigned Portuguese band, and at times it feels slightly cobbled together from different elements; a bit of early Paradise Lost here, a bit of classic-era The Gathering there, and sweetly warbled poppy-goth female vocals a la Octavia Sperati or Darkwell all over the place. So, we get a thudding metallic weight with heavy, angular riffs, married to plenty of uplifting melodies and elegant harmonies. It’s clearly not a new combination: all the bands listed in this paragraph share a common geneology, right?

Well, Thee Orakle do this extremely well, already appearing to be experts at handling this particular well-worn format. All Way Down, for example, drifts gracefully and effortlessly between an almost Dark Tranquility-like harmonic rumble and delicate shimmers of melancholic tunefulness. The band has a real flair for the heavy side of this equation, and are capable of a brutality that puts them lightyears ahead of more lightweight comparisons.

Metaphortime, however, is at its best when its prosaic appearance seems to be masking a slightly warped undercurrent. Guys, I’m nodding politely at your shiny new bungalow, but what I’m most interested in is the eyeballs in the biscuit tin. The odd percussive interludes of White Linen, interspersed between meaty riffs and lurking beneath a sweet vocal line, make me think of Madder Mortem, easily one of the most inventive acts working in this area of metal. Alchemy Awake also seems to have something untrustworthy underneath its anorak, with a time-twisting introductory chug lapsing into a rhythmically straightforward but oddly-timbred groove, before accelerating into a thunderous rollercoaster of surprisingly heavy instrumentalism. The occasional flamboyant guitar solos are also a treat, usually sounding perfectly at home but at the same time expanding the scope of the band’s sound greatly. Such moments are really what keep this from being simply a good gothic doom album

So, what you really have with this album is something that seems to set out its familiar stall as a pleasant gothic/doom act, but which ultimately transcends the boundaries of that sound on multiple fronts. It’s heavy, tuneful, distinctive and varied. I was going to end the review with some more guffawing mixed metaphors, but the album has left me too pleasantly surprised for that. Either way, I can’t think of any.

Killing Songs :
All Way Down, White Linen
Charles quoted 79 / 100
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