Orme by OrmeRelease date: April 20, 2023
Label: Trepanation Recordings
Here’s a thought: drone music should not be challenging. Yes, it is the antithesis of today’s everything-now culture, but that does not make it difficult. The genre is at its zenith with lush, rich pieces that are effortless to sink into, an all-encompassing world in which to become blissfully lost, no matter how long they last or how heavy they go. Despite their posturing, Orme have unveiled a two-track, ninety minute behemoth with their self-titled debut that so nearly captures that supreme meditative ecstasy with easy. Almost.
As rumbling as the bass is on Orme, when the guitar goes into full-blown drone mode, the tone is simply too thin. By not filling the sonic spectrum enough, it is lacking the power to fully crush the senses. It is infuriatingly close to enveloping everything, but somehow just misses the mark. It would be remiss not to mention the digeridoo making an appearance once we get into the belly of ‘Onward To Sarnath’… These sporadic elephant farts feel like a gimmick that does nothing to add to the layers and texture of the wall of sound that should be overwhelming us.
The spoken-word vocals at the beginning of both tracks are such a poor rip-off of Bong (the parallels to Stoner Rock cannot be accidental), completely ruining that trance-like state the drones are trying so hard to lull the listener in to. Where is the darkness? Where is the existential dread dripping from every word? This is more bored pastor in a quiet morning service than ravished prophet evoking the gifts of The Great Old Ones.
Orme are at their finest when the psychedelic influences rise to the surface. This is best exemplified in the closing section of ‘Nazarene’, the mesmeric riffing finally achieving the goal of creating a headspace far removed from reality. There is an air of true freedom here, the music taking off and positively soaring through a fantastical haze. Conversely, the decent into madness at the heart of ‘Onward To Sarnath’ proves the trio are no one-trick-pony, chanting male and female vocals leading down a twisted path that is a delight to follow.
It is deeply frustrating that Orme, with just a few tweaks, could be a really good record. Maybe, just maybe, next time around they can lure us into the promised land and truly make us float. The door is right there.