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ORCumentary - "Orcs 1 Goblins 0" (CD)

ORCumentary - "Orcs 1 Goblins 0" CD cover image

"Orcs 1 Goblins 0" track listing:

1. Cast Your Lot With The Orcs
2. Goblin Death March
3. Troll The Brave And True
4. Black Forest Ham
5. Troll Snot
6. Plains Of D'Lagrolon
7. Strangled By Your Own Sword Belt
8. Gor-Nacular's Grove
9. The View From Gor-Nacular's Lofty Seat
10. Fuck The Elves

Reviewed by on November 10, 2014

"This is a glorious, original piece of art, and a breath of fresh air."

A combination of humor, tongue-in-cheek fantasy, and brutish “Metalocalypse” style bravado (all presented by one man and his trusty synthesizer) may be a tough sell for some. But if any of the above appeals to you, or if you don’t take your metal or yourself too seriously, ORCumentary may just be your thing. The bonus? “Orcs 1 Goblins 0” contains some genuinely good and surprising music.

In every conceivable way - composition, arrangement, production - the ten tracks herein are all leaps and bounds above mastermind Orc Adams’ previous effort, the EP “Praise Gor-Nacular!” Opener “Cast Your Lot With The Orcs” introduces a full well of sonic elements from which the rest of this full-length disc will draw: ‘80s New Wave and old school Nintendo intertwined with synthesized death metal riff tones, tack-sharp programmed drums (including blast beats), and outlandishly silly lyrics delivered in Adams’ guttural croak. “Goblin Death March” provides your requisite singalong headbanging chant, “Troll The Brave And True” is a straightforward and fully realized speed metal anthem, and the bouncy “Black Forest Ham” embraces circus-level goofiness without shame.

It’s with the slower, eerie “Troll Snot” that things take a far more interesting turn. A lush, melancholy layer of piano reveals the deeper, more deceptively complex nature of Adams’ vision, echoing the likes of Amorphis and Insomnium. “Strangled By Your Own Sword Belt” continues this journey, tossing some Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom, Warmen) into the keyboard strains for good measure. Notice that all the above cited comparisons hail from Finland? That’s not an accident; Adams roots his melodic influences in Scandinavian folk metal, where moody atmosphere is king above all. He even offers a clean instrumental, “Gor-Nacular’s Grove,” which functions as a necessary interlude amid the lyrical shenanigans, and gradually segues into a soothing soundscape of thunder and steady rain. However, closer “Fuck The Elves” brings us full circle and back to the pint-raising, with the refrain “Fuck the elves / Fuck the elves / They are so full of themselves / Fuck the elves / Fuck the elves / Fuck those fucking elves!”

The juxtaposition of these masterful, credible musical pieces with such outrageous (and sometimes profane) lyrical themes may seem jarring at first, but on second thought, no more so than a standard GWAR or Dethklok album, or even any work of melodic death metal. The big difference is all in the presentation; “Orcs 1 Goblins 0” is literally a single handed effort, from recording and production right down to the live performance. If that throws you off, take a minute to untie the knot in your panties and open your mind along with your ears. This is a glorious, original piece of art, and a breath of fresh air.

Highs: Skilled arrangements, amusing concept, and a deeper-than-expected melodic sensibility.

Lows: Adherents of the traditional rock unit may be turned off.

Bottom line: From Connecticut keyboard wizard Orc Adams comes a brilliant full-length serving of humor, fantasy, and synthesized metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)