Nine years after releasing their last offering, this New Zealand and Australia-based entity returns with their most mature album to date, one that should gather the world’s gothic-doom scene’s attention.
Ten years after the band’s inception, and nine since their last offering, the 2014 EP Revenant, New Zealander/Australian Gothic/Doom Metal entity Orphans of Dusk opens their goth-doom gasket again, coming back to life to present Spleen, their haunting new full-length album. Mixed and mastered by Simon Cohen at Studios 301, and displaying a classy artwork by Moreno Matkovic (with additional artwork by Luciferium War Graphics, Irina Micic and the band’s own guitarist James Quested), the album picks up where Revenant left with a greater focus on dark hooks carried by excellent gothic vocals and guitar harmonies brought forth by Chris G on vocals, the aforementioned James Quested on the guitars and synths, and Mike Wilson on bass, supported by guest drummer Jonas Schütz (Cyclopean Walls, Sacrosanct, Diësis). The band’s most mature offering to date, and one that should gather the world’s gothic-doom scene’s attention, Spleen is highly recommended for fans of Type O Negative, Woods of Ypres and My Dying Bride, among others, offering the listener eight memorable songs with powerful riffs, weaving heaviness and beauty into a lush gothic atmosphere.
The vibrant and dense intro Welcome Black sets the tone for the rest of the album, darkening the skies and bringing sheer doom to our hearts before the band smashes our senses in Wasted Hero, with the sluggish, massive drums by Jonas dictating the song’s thunderous pace. Moreover, Chris’ deep vocals, most probably inspired by the unparalelled Peter Steele (RIP), match perfectly with the lugubrious riffs by James. In the somber I’m Going To Haunt You (When I Die) we’re treated to caustic lyrics growled by Chris (“Shadows grow over your own / A bitter chill descends, are you sure you are alone? / Such rage, it can defy the grave”) while Mike enhances the song’s density and darkness with his puissant bass lines; and it’s then time for a nine-minute aria exhaling melancholy and obscurity titled Aurora Australis, where the synths by James help the band generate an enfolding atmosphere. Needless to say, Chris is once again spot-on with both his enraged guttural and somber, clean vocals, sounding hypnotizing from start to finish.
The title-track Spleen keeps the atmosphere dense and muggy, blending the absolute heaviness of Doom Metal with the groovy feeling of Gothic Metal and Rock. It definitely feels like their personal “tribute” to Type O Negative, I might say, whereas Victim of a Vampire is even more touching and melancholic than its predecessors, a beautiful creation by Orphans of Dusk spearheaded by the minimalist but sharp guitars by James and the low-tuned bass by Mike. The instrumental interlude Magic Keys will then drag your soul to one final ride with Orphans of Dusk titled Falling Star, once again showcasing poetic words (“All alone but together we’re here at last / A violent zone, looking up to long black clouds / You wish upon a star”) embraced by a slow, heavy-as-hell goth-doom sonority. As a matter of fact, the CD version of the album comes with an exclusive bonus named A Spell of Bad Luck, definitely worth the investment in the physical copy, offering a nice hybrid of Gothic and Doom Metal where Chris’ deep vocals are nicely complemented by James’ keys and Jonas’ pounding drums.
Chris, James and Mike are eager to know what you think about their album, and you can easily get in touch with them via Facebook or Instagram and know more about the band, their plans for the future, tour dates and so on. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel and to stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, to grab a copy of the excellent Spleen from their own BandCamp page, or from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (or click HERE for all things Orphans of Dusk). Gloomy, inspiring and extremely detailed, Spleen is a fantastic return to action by Orphans of Dusk, and may that represent just the first step as they restart their journey through the dark and grim lands of Gothic and Doom Metal.
Best moments of the album: I’m Going To Haunt You (When I Die), Aurora Australis and Victim of a Vampire.
Worst moments of the album: none.
Released in 2023 Hypnotic Dirge Records
1. Welcome Black 1:44
2. Wasted Hero 8:18
3. I’m Going To Haunt You (When I Die) 6:37
4. Aurora Australis 9:07
5. Spleen 8:20
6. Victim of a Vampire 6:41
7. Magic Keys 2:22
8. Falling Star 6:52
CD Exclusive bonus track
9. A Spell of Bad Luck 5:29
Chris G – vocals
James Quested – guitars, synths
Mike Wilson – bass
Jonas Schütz – drums