Blackened Souls

Written by: MST on 02/09/2014 01:30:17

Stoner, sludge and doom metal are genres that compliment each other quite well if combined correctly, and this has been done countless times to varying effect. The French quintet Oruga present their first full length attempt at the combination with this year's "Blackened Souls". The group is relatively new, and only a single EP has been released since their inception in 2010. The band has obviously spent its fair share of time listening to the likes of Electric Wizard, and varies little from the formula that is heavy and dirty, but if done right this can be very effective.

Oruga are a bit of a two-trick pony on "Blackened Souls", in terms of their chosen combination of genres. On top of a doomy foundation of plodding drums and a prominent bass, Oruga are betting on changing back and forth between darkness and semi-aggressive catchy sections, with the dirty and sludgy riffs alternating in feeling as befits the sound. The catchy sections, though not bad at all, sound all too familiar for them to leave a lasting impression, as catchy riffs fly by without actually grabbing a hold of the listener. The murkier sections are richer in intensity, but the way the songs are constructed the different parts of the sound don't complement each other very well.

The instrumentation on "Blackened Souls" is definitely decent, but what potential the album had is ultimately ruined by a terrible vocalist. Most of the instrumentation is accompanied by lazy semi-shouts, and specifically the sound of the vocalist's technique is deserving of critique. It sounds like the vocalist is trying to form a growl from a shout, as if he shapes his mouth like you would if you were growling and performing a sort of rolling sound that would turn into a gurgling in guttural territory - except the delivery is a monotonous shout that delivers neither punch nor emotion. Clean vocals are interspersed throughout the album, and though unimpressive they both sound better technically and fit the soundscape quite nicely. These are sadly not prominent enough though.

There is more than mere traces of potential in Oruga's sound, but ultimately potential isn't enough. The record is too average, and with vocals like those they're not going to win me over anytime soon. "Blackened Souls" is worth a listen for diehard fans of stoner/sludge/doom metal, but hardly more than that, and for casual listeners this album is merely in the way of more impressive music.


Download: We, The Darkness; Dead Among The Living
For The Fans Of: Eyehategod, Electric Wizard, Weedeater
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.05.2014
Apathia Records

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