Orwell - Endeavors
Zero Budget Records
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (52:50)
Release year: 2009
Orwell, Zero Budget Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Orwell has the good fortune of being one of the few good melodeath releases I've listened to all year. This young American outfit released their sophomore album in 2009 and I have to say I wish I would have heard it sooner. Combining traditional death metal with plenty of melody, these guys put a fresh spin on a genre that has become extremely overcrowded in recent years. These guys not only have the musicianship needed to make this kind of music highly entertaining, they also have the songwriting skills to take it up a notch.

The opening track, Dictators In Disguise, is quick and engaging. The vocals from frontman Logan Hauser are pretty standard growls, and combined with the music the band’s sound reminds me somewhat of older Nightrage. The song does slow down from time to time, which throws me off a bit. Perhaps some guitar soloing in these interludes/breakdowns would create a more interesting contrast, though the band is quick to throw in some more interesting technical work. Tempting Our Damnation has all the melodic guitar solos you could possibly want in a song, even getting to point of being gratuitous, although never sounding so ridiculous as to be unlistenable. I really like the dark atmosphere created here with the melancholy melody. To really appreciate this album you have to listen for the subtle differences in the songs and the contrast between the use of fast, upbeat melody and the darker atmosphere that is often created. Anticipation uses acoustic guitar combined with calm electric guitar notes as an interlude between the heavy tracks, a tactic employed by many other bands from the both the death metal and melodeath genres. It leads into the massive opening riffs of Consumed, a track that lives up to its name, wrapping everything in big, heavy guitar lines. The last song I want to mention is Fortress, an epic length song that reminds me very much of Insomnium (as do some of the other slower parts on this album). The guitars begin slow and dragging with massive drums flowing perfectly over them. Quicker, catchier riffs come in as the song continues, something you can really headbang to. The drumming from Cris Bissel is especially good on this track as well, at times dark and foreboding and at others fast and energetic. Longer songs are often difficult to pull off in this genre, but Orwell accomplish it without getting too complicated.

While definitely not the most original melodeath band out there, Orwell have managed to create something quite listenable and enjoyable here without having to resort to massive amounts of breakdowns, or even clean vocals. Instead what you have here is pure death metal combined with plenty of melody and catchiness, which is what melodeath was originally all about. I would like to hear some more inventive song structures from these guys, but they are definitely on the right track. This is a really unrelenting album that just keeps coming at you with riff after heavy riff. Sometimes the vocalist does change it up and use a higher pitched guttural growl. He can get pretty intense, so although his vocals may not be all that different than many others, he still manages to hold your attention. In short, if you like your melodeath to have an emphasis on the death metal, this is definitely worth checking out.

Killing Songs :
Our Damnation, Consumed, Fortress
Khelek quoted 76 / 100
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