Band – O.R.k.
Album – Ramagehead
Country of Origin – UK
Genre – Alternative Rock
Release Date – February 22, 2019
Label – Kscope
Author – Schultzie
UK band O.R.k. has released their third full-length album Ramagehead, an exploration of 9 incendiary songs that demand attention from the listener. O.R.k. consists of Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (vocals), Carmelo Pipitone (guitars), Pat Mastelotto (drums), and Colin Edwin (bass). Following their 2017 release, Soul of an Octopus, Ramagehead is a deep spiraling void of whirring desolation and weighty atmosphere.
Ramagehead opens up with “Kneel To Nothing,” a piece that begins with a quick moment of grief-stricken voices being swallowed by a convulsing blackened hole, then replaced by the wailing hum of blaring instruments. The accompanying virtual fever dream of a music video seems to give a little insight to what this song may be about with its vast landscapes of nothingness, eroding bodies, and blank-faced people staring at the screens of their smartphones. I’d like to imagine all of these songs take place in this dismal cyberspace; the droning tones O.R.k. weave into the backgrounds and intros of their songs are the pixelated winds scattering against the flattened ground. The second track,“Signals Erased,” begins with whirling, uncanny tones evoking feelings of unease, then quickly erased by the brightness of an acoustic guitar and the rapid-fire liveliness that ensues shortly after the whispery echoes fall away. “Beyond Sight” starts with a somber fingerpicked guitar that is then interlaced with an eerie droning and gloomy descending vocals in the background, and does a wonderful job at putting Fornasari’s sturdy, plangent vocals on display with the thunderous atmosphere dispersing around his wails. The fourth track, “Black Blooms,” features special guest singer Serj Tankian of System of a Down. Tankian’s mournful voice begins this track atop a sorrowful piano lilt, later trailed by Fornasari. Ramagehead closes out with “Some Other Rainbow Part 2,” an ending complete with doleful strings, a steady pulsing beat, squealing guitars, and vocals thick with agony, caught in the throes of our corroding humanity.
Recommendation: With its brief moments of clouded quietness stamped out by unstable heaviness, and the twisting of howls and metal strings adorning each and every song, Ramagehead is an all around solid album with a lot of thoughts to unpack. The plaintive, distant rumbling of these songs will require multiple listening sessions.