Oro Vid_vaegs_aende

Oro - Vid Vägs Ände


I wrap up this year with anger, anguish, existentialism, and soaring dense emotional music by the hands of the Swedes Oro.

Oro was formed in 2014 in Örebro and released a very decent album in 2019. This year the Swedes have lifted themselves by the hairs and released a stunning album extending their musical scope into the atmospheric realm of music that reaches beyond mere Heavy Metal.

The band has done what the Swedes seem to do best these days, fuse the metal heard in Post-Hardcore, Sludge, Post-Rock, Doom into yearning and crushing atmospheric Sludge that reaches for the inner and outer space while looking into the abyss. They released this album on December 1st, came to the Oslo venue Vaterland the day after, and blew us away. They were supported by Moth Gatherer. We have to admit we primarily were there for Moth Gatherer, but every one of us scuttled home to be more acquainted with Oro, downloading the albums and sending PMs to each other: “Wow!”

Yes, “wow”. I must admit I am a sucker for Atmospheric Post-Metal and I do think these days there are too few such releases. I might be wrong of course, but when I discover one new album I get a burst of joy, the same as when I discovered Through Silver and Blood or when I stumbled upon Beyond. Ah - yes, Oro are in the same vein, crushing, yearning, layered. And more. I have to contradict myself because I think that this year has been a good year for us who just need new Atmospheric Post-Metal in our lives. I mean, my first review this year was about the formidable Swedish Kollaps\e´s Phantom Centre and now my last review this year is about Oro´s Vid Vägs Ände. Both are Swedish (of course;-).

Just to be clear, the name of the band, Oro, is not Spanish for gold even if their music is of gold standard. It is Swedish for unease, anxiety, unrest, disquiet, qualm, and our state of mind in that vein. And they sing about this in Swedish and let the yearning, sometimes uneasy and harsh music describe those feelings. In the second song ” Vid Vägs Ände”, they let the lyrics grab you with the music: ”Fixes my gaze / against the precipice of the abyss / My heart like fire / Annealed frenzy”. (translated).

Of course, it is difficult to let the lyrics capture you if you do not understand them, but the music does this so well as the dissonant high-pitched, and clean guitar opens the song before it is overtaken by heavy sludgey riffs with the high-pitched guitar still immersed in the dense yet melodic, heaviness. It is a ten-minute song and thus lets the band elaborate and develop their soundscape. The song, as the other four on the album, has a lot of switches and turns. It is done with immaculate composition skills; just when the listener thinks that the chugging or staccato repetitions have gone on for too long, it shifts to something even more engaging. It is hard, effective, and enchanting. The riff-based music races forward with the occasional chugging, it is Doom-heavy Sludge before it loosens up a bit as a high-pitched guitar is distorted in the heavy soundscape that surrounds the hoarse growls.

Sorry. I got carried away, so, a bit about the band: Oro is a quintet with a versatile drummer who not only keeps the pace but lets his drumsticks fly over the kit and has sprinkles spread from his many cymbals above the dense music. The bassist provides deep grooves for the music to seep into, many times laying out the melodic theme. The vocalist is none the less versatile with his hoarse growls, whispers, and screams - every vocal take wonderfully immersed in the three guitars that create dense riffs and open and soaring tremolos. For me, the riffs develop through the album, from the repetitive engaging staccato parts to the elongated melodic takes in the last song, ”Treriksröset”.

“Nails break / Black rage / Disfigured grinning / Toothless grin” (translated) the vocalist growls on the third song ”Bältad” which means being forced into a straitjacket, literally or metaphorical. The lyrics are angst-ridden and the music furious when it fuses with hard and and diverse drumming, grooving bass and three guitars driving the melody forward with some chugging in between. The song cools down to leave the low-end bass and heavy drumming to make place for the hoarse growls for a while until it fuses, building from a chugging and staccato mode to glissade into a staggering soundscape with thick, long and melodic riffs to support the vocals while the bass leads on with the melodic theme, cymbals rain over the music and the drums are really energetically. A high-pitched tremolo guitar appears amid the dense sound until it opens up once more to provide room for the vocals. It tightens again with repetitive chugs until the release with a wide wall of sound, a high-pitched tremolo, and low-end melodic bass - the music continuing along the path. There is a slight change in the tonality with a higher pitch as the melody floats forward broken shiftings between hard fast hits and elongated takes. The end is engaging as everything flows together and becomes a bit dissonant with layers upon layers of sound, leading up to a mighty end.

Translated, the last sentence growled on the album is ”All that I regret smolders in the ashes along my path / Towards the place where everything ends”. It sums up the musical up-lifting end of the album. The multi-faceted song changes its pace and is fast driven forward by drums, bass, riffs, and cymbals glistening in the sound. The higher-pitched guitars live their own slightly dissonant lives as the music races onward. It simmers down a bit with repetitive lines before a release of glissading Post-Metal riffs lets the melody float along with heavy takes while the drums are becoming faster and faster. Toward the end, the tremolo guitar holds back the tempo and the music fades away thus repeating musically the opening lines, underlining the lyrics.

If it is not clear yet; this is a tour-de-force of an Atmospheric Sludge Metal album to console you at Christmas 2023 when the world seems on fire. We need respite, and this record provides just that.