July 28, 2008 | | 4

Orthrus, Tyrants of Deception

Before I get into the meat of Orthrus’ debut EP Tyrants of Deception, I’ve got to state that the wall of sound coming from my speakers couldn’t possibly be made by just two dudes and a session drummer (Unburied’s Brian Forman). Seriously. The dual guitar battles, melodies, sweeps and riffing throughout this disc is immense. Huge. Big.

Rooted firmly in black metal the duo combine their like minded influences of 80’s thrash and hard rock into this beast of an EP. Even with the amount of evil thrown into the mix Orthrus also have a few skull fulls of melody at play throughout this album. There’s so much going on in each song that it’s easy to miss the numerous small leads that pepper them. The drumming is solid and fits the dueling guitars perfectly in tempo and ferocity.

Prelude to War
“Prelude to War” starts out with some atmospherics to set the mood — orchestral string arrangement and distant drums. The brief intro builds to a minute in length before the title track erupts from the speakers.

Tyrants of Deception
Taking over where the opener left off, this track explodes with furious drumming and a slick lead. The drums step it up a notch with intense speed for a few seconds before the layered vocals come in. The drumming is heavy, aggressive, and unrelenting. I freaking love it! There is sick lead after sick lead during this tracks pummeling duration. The vocals are guttural and evil as hell. There’s a brief, melancholy lull for a few seconds before a scorching lead comes in that lasts a solid minute and only seems to build upon itself as it streams from the speakers. The track ends with barbaric drumming and vicious growls.

Through the Prophet’s Eyes
I couldn’t imagine that the band would be able to top the ferocity of that last track, but I’ll be damned if they haven’t done just that with “Through the Prophet’s Eyes.” A soulful lead starts the song off with mid-tempo drum work. This one isn’t nearly as aggressive in nature, but it’s song structure more than makes up for it when compared to the title track. It’s dramatic, sweeping and will leave the listener awe struck. Tempo shifts galore and melodic elements combine to create an outstanding track.

Fields of Asphodel
The sound of wind and light guitars start off this next song. The atmospheric feel of this one is that of a cold, war torn landscape, complete with the sounds of falling rain.

After that soothing instrumental, “Asmodeus” pulls us violently back into the churning sea of blackened death with animalistic drums and driving riffs. The vocals are a bit deeper and layered nicely to great effect. Again, there are more leads than you can shake a detached femur at throughout this unrelenting song.

The Summoning
“The Summoning” keeps the vibe going with big riffs and a thick lead to start things off. Once the vocals and drums come in all hell breaks loose. The lead that comes in around the 1:20 mark is soulful and a calm amongst the storm of the drums. A much more technical lead comes in just before a demonic eruption from the drums around the 2:30 mark. After that the group settles in to a nice groove with more dueling leads and thundering drums.

Onward to Valhalla
After that guitar heavy attack, “Onward to Valhalla” starts off a bit slower with light, acoustic guitars. Big riffs and creative drum work come in at the :35 point to eclipse the calm for the acoustic elements while building up to the feeding frenzy of churning guitars and mad man like drumming. Man, this is an amazing tune full of massive tempo swings and complete mastery of the guitar.

Passing of the Storm
The final track serves as the quiet stillness after the storm of the previous tracks. The song encompasses light string work and piano to round out the album.

~ ~ ~

To tell you the truth I don’t recall expecting much from this release. I’m not sure why since I had never even heard of the band before. I can safely say that now it’s one of those albums that is in constant rotation in my play list. The dueling guitars and massive drums are just too much to ignore. The subtle melodies that weave in and out of the crushing riffs and maniacal rhythm blasts creates a sonic balance that makes this EP something to revel in. I can’t wait for more from this duo.

Favorite Tracks:
Every freakin’s one.

Additional Notes: