A very warm welcome to the first installment of ‘Prospecting The Underworld’, a weekly column dedicated to the search for underground metal from around the globe. Every week we’ll give you an insight into independent artists who deserve your attention.
It is an absolute pleasure to kick-start this column with the outstanding melodic death-metal quartet Orbit Culture.
Orbit Culture hail from Eksjö, Sweden and began as a collaboration between current vocalist Niklas Karlsson and ex-member Maximilian Zinsmeister. They quickly recruited drummer Markus Bladh and bassist Christoffer Olsson to record their debut EP. The band has seen a few lineup changes over their short time, currently with Karlsson and Bladh being joined by Fredrik Lennartsson on bass and Richard Hansson on guitar.
OC have amassed a reasonably short but potent touring history between 2013-2017, with performances at acclaimed Swedish metal venues including L’Orient, Hijackers and Replokalen. They have also appeared at festivals such as Eksjö Stadsfest and the Gefle Metal Festival in Sweden this year where they opened the stage for the likes of Destroyer666 and Grand Magus.
The band, in its various incarnations, has been very productive since day one; In August 2013 they released a self-titled EP containing 5 tracks which was mixed and mastered by Karlsson. In December of the same year the band released their first full-length album Odyssey, which was essentially the 5 tracks from the EP and then those tracks repeated as instrumentals. The second full-length album In Medias Res came out in July 2014 and their most recent album Rasen dropped in March 2016, with recording, mixing and mastering being taken care of by the band themselves. With each lineup, as you would imagine, there were subtle changes in the OC sound. Not a great deal though, and this is a testament to the song-writing influence and expertise of Karlsson.
Orbit Culture certainly have their place in the mdm genre, but it’s not strictly how they should be defined. They use the usual brutality you’d expect in this genre in a different way. The use of soft electronic parts and folky, galloping drums fit for scenes out of Braveheart creates a dramatic juxtaposition with the heavy parts. The riffs and leads, on occasion, are almost fascinating, with zero predictability. There is very little use of repetition in the leads, Hansson is meticulous in the execution of his parts. One of the highlights of melodic death metal is always the drumming. It’s where lightning fast double-kick takes on a slightly schizophrenic personality. Bladh is an extremely talented skinsman with an amazing talent for complex rhythms at a blistering speed. The ability to put obvious accents in at such a rapid pace is mind-boggling. That said, he can also lay down a perfect million-bpm section with equal authority. Throughout their entire discography, the command of water-tight instrumentation is indisputable. All of these elements, combined with the unnervingly powerful vocals, forge an electrifying auditory experience every time you listen to Orbit Culture. If you dig any of the bands featured in Prospecting The Underworld like we did and maybe even if you don’t, share them around. You’ll surely know someone who’s into them!
Check in next week (and every week from now on!!) for the next piece of precious metal we dig up!
Make sure to follow Orbit Culture HERE