Orbit Culture - Nija
Band: Orbit Culture
Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Seek and Strike
FFO: Gojira, Metallica, Sepultura
I’ll just get it out of the way now that ‘Nija’ was on my top 3 anticipated albums this year. After discovering them from their previous EP, I fell in love with their discography and couldn’t wait for more to see where the evolution of this band goes. And well, I was not disappointed. Orbit Culture has always had pretty good production even from their debut. Even then though, it has improved to become this massive wall of sound and atmosphere. Actually, I think that’s an understatement. Their previous work is a massive wall. This however, is a mountain. High quality in the production, structured in the mix, and powerful in the sound.
Orbit Culture brings the energy like no other band. The heaviness is so fast at times it can seem like air just shooting through you with the weight of meteors. Intro takes no time at all to kick in. You are swept off your feet with no choice but to follow along. It’s hard to know where to begin with these guys so I’ll start with one of the most noticeable and forward things about the music, the vocals. The diversity and might in Niklas's vocals are crazy. His screams are aggressive and he sounds like he is leading an army of thousands. The cleans can vary between his own unique sound and that signature James Hetfield influence we all know and love. Musically, everyone in this band crushes and has immense talent. A specialty amongst many that Orbit Culture has is how to build rising tension with every instrument. This tension is utilized with the pacing to make for swift and easy to listen to songs that don’t drag out. Transitions between songs, within the music, and verses are consistently smooth as butter making sure there’s never a dull moment. The rare moments of down time fill you with a multitude of beautiful sounds such as one of my favorites ‘Day of the Cloud’. These down times allow you to give even more appreciation towards the atmosphere they flawlessly build. ‘Behold’ immediately gave me a different vibe not only from this album but also their discography. But once again, they transition and flow into the core of the song with ease. Overall, you never feel “attacked”. No matter how fast or loud a song can get, you’re simply brought along on the ride instead of being steamrolled by it. It’s a feeling I don’t get often from metal but I arguably enjoy more. ‘Mirrorslave’ is another favorite of mine mainly because of its groove. The simplicity to it combined with that mountain of sound leaves me speechless. I truly struggle to communicate how giant and controlling their sound is. This song, and this album, is just something you have to experience yourself to really understand it. To be honest, you can disregard my “strongest songs” list cuz every single one deserves to be there. The lyrics set to this music center a lot around mental health, both the weaknesses and strengths. There’s an undertone of storyline and concept between each song that I’ll let you experience for yourself through both the lyrics and music videos. The album technically ends off on ‘The Shadowing’. But it’s followed by a short instrumental that brings everything back down to earth, where you are then allowed to depart from the ride you were taken on. It gives off a very sorrowful yet...hopeful feeling. Sad that it’s over for now, but happy it’s not the end.
There’s truly no end to how many times I could listen to this album. It doesn’t get boring, and repeatedly has the same effect on me, if not even more intense with each listen. My favorite part about ‘Nija’ is it’s another step for the band but they keep becoming stronger with each step. Some bands refuse to change while others attempt change and fail. These guys haven’t changed, they simply evolved. They grew from where they started to where they are now. They keep a lot of similarities from their earliest work, but build upon it with better qualities such as the cleaner vocal style and atmospheric intensity. I’ve honestly never heard such a steady and smooth growth from album to album with a band before. I think if you enjoy this new stuff, you’ll love the old and vise versa, just for slightly different reasons.
This was everything I hoped it to be and more. They brought the heaviness, the solos, the atmosphere, and the power. Orbit Culture is one of the most solid and well constructed bands around right now and are severely under-rated. They’ve only improved as time goes on so I expect nothing less in the future for these guys. Every track is it's own experience and event. From start to finish of every song, you feel like you just went through an adventure. Needless to say, this album makes you exhausted afterwards - in every good way possible. Plus, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time; 10 songs in roughly 45 minutes? Perfect. At the time of writing this, this has made its way to my album of the year so far in 2020.
Strongest Song: Day of the Cloud, Mirrorslave, Nensha
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/orbit-culture/691240064