As The Ashes Settle


ORPHALIS is a German death meal band who formed in 2010.  'As The Ashes Settle' […]
Orphalis - As The Ashes Settle album cover

ORPHALIS is a German death meal band who formed in 2010.  'As The Ashes Settle' is their fourth full length album; they have also released an EP. ORPHALIS' brand of death metal is a highly combustible form of technical and brutal death.  This mixture is well crafted into their songs-there isn't anything overly technical or does it get excessively brutal.  I found this approach to be refreshing and it definitely makes the album flow very well. Metalheads who don't care or those who don't like it too brutal will still want to check this out-it has something for every fan of death metal.

The album opens with the title track and it fires right out of the gate.  A high death growl pierces the drums and guitars and in less than twenty seconds the band is firing on all cylinders.  Considering how extreme it is, the song is surprisingly catchy and I can firmly say this is indicative of the album as a whole.  Every song has a hook to reel you in.  In the title track's case, it's the middle jam session that leads into a guitar solo that in turn segues  into a very energetic ending with subtle use of keyboards.  'Ritual of Conflagration,' is a beast of a song, head banging riffs hitting hard around the 30 second mark and a flash of technical bass popping out around the 40 second mark.  The vocals get low and brutal afterwards and push an already in motion song even further.  Around the 1:40 mark, the keys come back-I love how they use keyboards on this album.  It definitely isn't overdone-just enough injected into to make the music vibrant.

"An Effigy to Humanity' is another banger but there is a sliver of melancholic sorrow over parts of it, especially the beginning.  The lead guitar does a fantastic job in adding atmosphere to the track while the rhythm keeps it technical.   At 2:39, the bass lets loose a dizzying display of prowess while the drums hammer in the guitar riffs which speak of horror and sorrow for our doomed face. One of my favorite songs on the album has to be "Staring Into Ruin,' because it is totally uncompromising.  The riffs double down as the vocalist gets deeper-this combo attack makes the song nearly inconceivably  heavy. The best part hits at the 2:27 mark, the lead guitar, drums, and vocals swirling together as one massive sound.  The rhythm guitar lays down a sea of brackish riffs to add sweltering heat to the carnage. The slower part at the end backed by keyboards is absolutely fantastic and a powerful way to end the song.

'Moon Supremacy,' comes out of left field but I actually like the vibe of this odd track and I hope for future releases they can expand upon this element more.  The last track is the monolithic "Crowned In Hatred,' and caps it all off in a big way.  The double bass seems like a living entity, such is its power and force.  The first minute a half or so is a slower, more methodical approach and it really works for the band.  It soon speeds up into frenzied waters and, well, that works too. If this album proves anything, it shows ORPHALIS is well adapted to handle anything and can make a vibrant, dynamic death metal album without compromising the genre's core elements.  With that being said, "As The Ashes Settle' is definitely their own album with its own sound. Highly recommended and one of the best death metal albums I've heard in this first half of 2023.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"As The Ashes Settle" Track-listing:

1. As the Ashes Settle
2. Ritual of Conflagration
3. Watch Them Descend
4. The Wolves Draw Near
5. An Effigy to Humanity
6. Staring into Ruin
7. Moon Supremacy
8. From Shadows Arisen
9. Labyrinth Configuration
10. To Embrace Defeat
11. Crowned in Hatred

Orphalis Lineup:

Morten Formeseyn - Guitars
Jens Dürholt - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Phillip Hatcher - Drums
Thomas Szczecina - Vocals
Thomas Köhler - Bass

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