For the past few months I've seen the name O.R.k. mentioned many times in different reviews, (prog)news bulletins and as support act of one of my favorite bands; The Pineapple Thief. But I didn't get the opportunity to give them a listen. So I was pleasantly surprised to get this (cheaply made) promo from one of the bigger leading prog labels K-scope. It's their first release on K-scope. But their 3rd overall. I'm not familiar with these guys, so I'm going in clean. But can I? If you see the names that are present on this album the bar of expectation is raised. Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Ex-Wise Heads, Porcupine Tree) and even a cameo of Serj Tankian (System Of A Down) on Black Blooms.
The man behind O.R.k. is Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (also known as: LEF), who is also responsible for most of the lyrics. The nine tracks are mostly around four minutes and quite easy to listen to.
Mr. Tankian proves his brilliant voice control on Black Blooms. But don't underestimate LEF too!
The last 3 tracks appeal to me the most. Some Other Rainbow (1&2) combined could have been much longer into epic lengths (10+ minutes) if it was for me. And Strangled Words contains a magnificent song structure, LEF sounds like Buddy Lackey (Psychotic Waltz) sometimes.
“Middle of the road Prog”? I think Neo-Prog is what describes the main direction of this high-quality album. If you are familiar with this part of the Prog world, you'll probably like it a lot. It is quite diverse though. Sometimes raw, a bit on the heavy side (Tool?), but subtle too. Shadow Gallery is mentioned in my head a few times, but not that heavy.
So, I raised the expectation bar high. Well, I'm not disappointed. I hope to hear much more from this band in the future. I'll definitely going to explore their previous work too. And maybe... an epic track in the likes of Anesthetize? I'm convinced they can pull it off.
**** Erik van Os (edited by Dave Smith)
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