Mit Blod EP

Written by: AP on 27/12/2020 16:17:13

ORM released one of the best metal albums of 2019, “Ir” and 2020 was thus supposed to be a year to remember for the Danish black metal quartet, one they intended on bringing to a climax with a special live performance of that record on their ancestral island of Bornholm, accompanied by a classical string section. But alas, the Earth had something different in mind, and as society, and with it the music industry ground to a halt in an effort to curtail a pandemic, 2020 was effectively rendered the year that never was. Just before the havoc started though, ORM had managed to drop an EP titled “Mit blod”, comprising two b-sides the four musicians recorded during the sessions for the aforementioned “Ir”, so at the very least there was new music for their fans to immerse themselves in whilst waiting for some semblance of normalcy to be restored.

These new tunes should not be unfamiliar to existing fans, yet already the first few minutes of the titular piece “Mit blod” make it clear why it was discarded from “Ir”’s track list. It starts out like any traditional, Norwegian black metal song, with an ill-boding four-chord guitar riff playing over a mid-tempo 4/4 time signature until Adam Schønemann doubles up on the bass drums and the pace picks up to resemble something from Darkthrone’s playbook. But this opening segment, together with a brief eruption of blast beats and tempestuous tremolo melodies around the 7-minute mark, are the only parts still anchoring “Mit blod” to the black metal genre. Most of its runtime is instead spent on experimenting with elements that only appeared in hints and touches on “Ir”, from forlorn, Nordic folk music, to passages of esoteric, Rush-like prog, and most notably a fantastic reprise of that Ennio Morricone-style trumpet soliloquy that was so elegantly woven into the fabric of “Klippens lyse hal” on the album. It is ORM’s most eclectic and inquisitive song to date, making it a natural choice as a bonus to “Ir” — something to sustain their fans’ appetite while the band is chipping away at the eventual successor to that record.

The second song on “Mit blod” is an even more deviant affair, providing an interpretation of the Danish dream pop act Sleep Party People’s track “Notes to You” from their eponymous début album from 2010. And the word interpretation really is key, for whereas the original clocks in at just over 3 minutes, ORM have drag it out beyond 9, transforming an already elusive piece of music into a tantalising doom and post-metal epic, with especially the crescendo and the subsequent quietus in the end leaving an indelible mark on my memory. Gone is the sugary sweet falsetto used by Sleep Party People’s Brian Batz; the two guitar-wielding frontmen, Simon Sonne Andersen & Theis Wilmer Poulsen have replaced it with strange harmonies in which one growls and the other sings in baritone. Away with the delicate instrumentals; these have been substituted for crashing power chords and longingly wailing melodies to render the song into something beyond a mere cover. Indeed, it sounds like a completely different song in ORM’s hands and, somewhat surprisingly, it slots into their existing repertoire quite seamlessly.

So while “Mit blod” is effectively just leftovers from the “Ir” sessions, the songwriting talent of these four musicians ensures it hardly feels like such. It provides a broader window into the band’s penchant for taking the roads less traveled and moulding their own niche within the atmospheric black metal genre (even if black metal is, strictly speaking, pushed to the background on it), and as such, it makes for the perfect intermezzo whilst we wait for the band’s third studio album to arrive, hopefully in the near future.


Download: Mit Blod, Notes to You
For the fans of: Agalloch, Panopticon, Wolves in the Throne Room
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.02.2020

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