Review: PLAGUE ORGAN “Orphan” [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

Review: PLAGUE ORGAN “Orphan” [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

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The experimental duo from Netherlands Plague Organ this year has released the debut album with the help of American label “Sentient Ruin Laboratories”. This is the first collaboration for both musicians Marlon Wolterink and René Aquarius, which are known primarily by the local death and black metal bands. But they’ve decided not to keep things small, presenting at once the strong and brave material, interlaced with minimalism, avant-garde and ritual abstractionism.

Experimental music in the extreme genres is a complicated and thankless topic, because mostly it gathers too much questionable and unjust criticism. This kind of music breaks the boundaries of traditional concepts, making the narrow-minded metalheads nervous. But at the same time it often remains underrated, too complicated and unnatural for perception and comprehension. The situation is slightly better for the well-known musicians in a broader sense, but that’s not the case for Plague Organ, so the mains support can be expected from the music label and the open-mindedness of the listeners, if they are able to grasp something more than traditional genres.

The album consists from one 40 minute song, and that was a wise decision, because it really is one long monotonous song, not as usually, when this one long song consists of different parts, but with a unified pattern. If at first there’s a feeling that nothing changes during this long composition, than after meticulous immersion the unusual progression of composition starts to show.

“Orphan” has a rapid shamanistic black/death rhythm with a deliberately raw sound and distortedly tuned guitars. On the fourth minute the abnormally low and deep growls join in, and the animalistic ritualistic mood entirely encompasses the listener in the crooked labyrinths of avant-garde. From time to time the new musical elements integrate into a common pattern – the drone buzz emerges into purer noise, but considering that these elements sound in the background, the listener still enchantingly follows this trance-like monotone rhythm. At a certain point suffocating psychedelic ambient appears, still chaotic and bizarre. In the middle of the song the voice becomes louder and messier, so amidst the psychedelic minimalistic occultism the music doubles its power. At the end of the song the pace of drum beats increases to a hammering with ringing ambient sounds, and finally “Orphan” ends with a long noise passage.

It’s hard to predict the future for this sort of music, but truly talented bands, even without mass recognition sometimes acquire the cult following, because it’s not so easy to create something genuinely fresh and innovative within limits of minimalistic music. The beautiful art nouveau artwork effectively conveys the full range of emotions – bright, absurd, gloomy, as well as the name of the album “Orphan” reflects the music’s senses – lonely, desperately, dark. This 40-minute journey is able to send a listener not only into occult vastness of chaotic universe, but to immerse into trance of psychic experience as well.

Release date: August 28th, 2020

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Ilona Adhlactha

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