Sunday, 04 February 2007

It would be a really easy thing to give the new Orthodox record a quick listen and toss it aside as another wannabe Lysol or Dopesmoker. I say this because initially it is easy to spot the similarities; all three move at a glacier’s pace, they drone obsessively, and each one is capable of completely overwhelming the senses of the listener. It’s easy to understand how someone could do this, but at the same time I think that doing so would be a gargantuan mistake because to my ears Gran Poder is one of those rare records that actually elevates the genre as well as pushes it forward.

The record consists of five tracks. Four of them make up the original album, and for the Southern Lord release, a cover of Venom’s “Genocide” has been added. The album opens with “Geryon’s Throne,” a 27-minute epic that summarizes the last ten years of the doom/drone genres. It opens with a Melvins-style riff that drones on for an eternity and at the point where it almost becomes unbearable, the riff dissolves into a rumbling tonal mass on the level of Earth 2 or Absoluego-era Boris. After some time the tone begins to settle your nerves and as you relax in its resonant warmth you are unexpectedly buried under an avalanche of drums. I call these drums an avalanche because the pattern borders on random but have built momentum and completely bulldoze everything in their path. From here the song moves into experimental territory where a screeching randomness fights with an urge to return to safety of the drone. I am not sure how else I can describe what else happens just in this one opening song, but I can tell you that if you make it through to the finale it will have been a rich and rewarding journey. The other tracks on the record offer more of the same and I don’t want to offer any more spoilers than I already have. This is not just music, but an emotional experience. Listen to it loud. Listen to it alone.

Gran Poder is out now on Southern Lord.

Listen to "Arrodillate Ante La Madera Y La Piedra" here.

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