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Orb Of Torture - "Stereolith" (Demo)

Orb Of Torture - "Stereolith" Demo cover image

"Stereolith" track listing:

1. Ten Billion Unique Monoliths (5:04)
2. Death's Solemn Aura (5:14)
3. The Pathetic Selector (7:02)

Reviewed by on December 23, 2008

"Positives present? Well they play death metal."

In the early 90s, the death metal scene started to suffer from stagnation as legions of Suffocation and Death clones arose inside a once boundary-pushing scene. While 1993 brought technical metal as a champion to hold the death metal flag high and the Swedes took over in a melodic coup, like thrash before it the scene never fully recovered from the onslaught of homogeneity. This is a long winded intro to the sentence "Orb of Torture is 20 years too late to be anywhere near original."

There is essentially nothing too wrong with this demo, as everything is well rehearsed, played and executed. The only major no-no is the lack of solos, which is pretty unforgivable when you’re attempting to write death metal songs over five minutes. The first track is not so bad, but the following tracks tread the path so closely that any attempt at the last over-sized seven minute song "The Pathetic Selector" are squandered in uninventive riffs. Musically they're not old-school Death/Pestilence-era death metal and the vocals put them in the more extreme and unsurprisingly Cannibal Corpse/Suffocation category, despite unwieldy attempts at proggy meanderings.

So where does that leave Orb of Torture? Well in a cavernous limbo between death metal and brutal/technical death metal, not brutal enough to blow you down, nor catchy enough to remember the songs. With the caliber of even second tier technical death metal names today like Psycroptic and The Faceless all vying for a spot to be mentioned in the same breath as Nile and Cannibal Corpse, you either have to bring major technical chops or be doing something very interesting to get noticed, neither of which Orb of Torture particularly manages to do.

Positives present? Well they play death metal. If you listen to nothing else besides Suffocation and early Gorguts, then you might enjoy this in the same way you did when you first heard “Effigy of the Forgotten.” While this all may be harsh for a small Belgium death metal act, once a year I must feed on the blood of generic death metal like the vampire I am in order to atone to the metal gods for the blasphemies committed in the 90s. Mmmmm.... meaty.

Highs: They play death metal

Lows: They couldn't be more run of the mill if they ran a mill factory

Bottom line: Super solid Belgian death metal demo, but lacking any stand out features besides sounding like Suffocation

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)