Live Review from Underground Heavy #6:
1. Transmigrate of Death
2. Prediction of Ancient Darkness
3. Lake of Sins
4. The Ironic World
5. Curse of the Lord
What a band. Their composition style instantly reminded me of the grandiose, overpowering melodies of King Diamond, but with low-register, guttural vocals. The symphonicness of their sound cannot be overstated – the sound clearly derives from classical music with more time being devoted to develop note patterns (rather than the riff-focus of other forms of metal). The keyboards are wonderfully discreet, and serve to underline the melodies (much like a cello in an orchestra) maintaining an organ-esque tone that allows them to sound like they don’t take themselves too seriously while playing up the drama deliciously. Their guitarists sound like they’ve grown up on a staple of Paul Gilbert and people like Yngwie Malmsteen which, again, can be monotonous to the critical ear but are also great to listen to. Top this off with the much more heavy metal style of the drums (particularly cymbals), and you get a wonderfully moody mix of songs which also have different parts but which are melded together masterfully.
They’ve made it a practice to intro their songs, like an overture at the start of an opera, and the one from Prediction… was particularly theatrical, leading into a headbanging fest of a song, amazingly, outside of 4/4 (!!). They move between many different kinds of metal (including speeds), and the guitarists take the time to develop the ideas, rather than just touch bases, as in the middle portion of Lake of Sins, or the thrash leanings of The Ironic World. Yet, the song was brief in its detail – nothing was played or sung for any longer than was needed, and the compositions were, unusually, replete with emotional appeal (in a metal effin’ song… who’da thunk it?!), embodied in Curse of the Lord. Their approach to metal doesn’t flag, and every moment of their set felt like something different was happening – which is not really something you can plan, even with their all their symphonic deliberateness.
Live Review from Underground 33:
The stage darkened. Thunderclouds gathered overhead. It was time for ORTHON. Well after a quick change of equipment that is. The bassist/singer has the special Orthon Death Voice. It was impossible to tell if he was singing in Cantonese or English, but then again it really didn’t matter. These guys are tight and the music — although not really my scene — was masterfully rendered. The synth player, despite hiding way off in the shadows on the left of the stage was the single instrument that simultaneously held the sound together and differentiated it from other HK death metal offerings, with sweeping handfuls of chords underpinning the music and lending it a certain majesty. The musicianship of the drummer and guitarists was also impeccable, and along with plenty of hair waving on stage and a bit of air-punching and ‘devil-horns’ from the crowd, it was clear that the band are masters of their genre.
Overall, a great Underground. Not a single bad band, and a good mix of styles to keep everyone happy. And they didn’t run out of beer.
Live Review from Underground 21:
The Dark Underlords of the HK death/prog/metal scene. Will they channel White Zombie? Dub War? Cradle of Filth? Carcass? First song “Suicide” (?) About 8 minutes or so, multi movements (ebb/flow of good 70s prog rock (like Yes in full flight) and really gruff GRUFF death vocals with sweet synth melodies (quasi-operatic). If you saw Strativarius in HK in January or own Beauty in Darkness (various artists) on Cleopatra records, you’ll LOVE Orthon. No dancing yet – but happy hardcore nodders in front row. Orthon’s drummer is the second fastest I’ve seem since Kevin from Hardpack – good jazz fusion style in places – plays exceedingly well with bassist/singer. Track 3 is like Depeche Mode turns heavy metal mingled with old Uriah Heep. Fourth song is called Ear grunt gobble. War Pigs bassline – more of that sweet keyboards versus speed metal drums/big bass and death vox. Symphonic. Absolutely amazing. Tight musicianship. Orthon would rock Europe, someone fly them there please!