Band – OrphanOfKos
Album – Arcane Worship – Demo (2018)
Country of Origin – Canada
Genre – Death Metal
Release Date – September 17, 2018
Label – Independent
Author – Hayduke X and Hayduke Jr.
Starting with a near tribal pummeling of the toms, Victoria based OrphanOfKos jumps quickly into a rabid and raw death metal attack. The quintet appeared on the scene last year with this initial offering, a demo that received a ton of much deserved hype. For me, the haunting riffery earns Arcane Worship a top three Demo of 2018 nod. As explained in more depth below by Hayduke Jr., the official teenage son of Hayduke, Arcane Worship is thematically based on the video game Bloodborne. Since I have expert help on this one, I’ll leave the theme there and move onto the music.
Musically, OrphanOfKos does something that many more mature bands fail to do. That is, they have a near perfect balance in the production. This style of doomed out death metal should feel grimy and raw, but that shouldn’t mean muddy production. On this demo, each instrument can be heard clearly doing their part. It is instead the style of play that brings that raw feel. The drums attack with abandon featuring a mix of double bass, blasting, and rapid fire fills to push the pace to the destructive end. The bass is a piece of rumbling artillery, clearing the path for the warrior to fight his battle. The downtuned guitars weave together in a tapestry of hate, each riff created for dark effect rather than technical points. Make no mistake, whoever is strumming the six-strings can play. They just choose (rightly) to use their prowess for the benefit of the whole rather than trying to win a guitar solo battle. My favorite part (of many excellent pieces) is the vocal attack. There are at least two distinct styles in play here. It’s hard to say, but they may both be the same guy, (I still find it hard to believe that Travis Ryan is the only vocalist for Cattle Decapitation) or they may use at least two vocalists. One piece of the attack is a wrenching high pitched gargle of rage. The other is a low growl of decimation. Neither are intelligible, but that fits well with the style of the release.
Let the rumbling roar of OrphanOfKos fill your ears. Turn it up and let it rattle your neighbors windows, though they live a mile away. Dive down into the depths of abandon with these five warriors from Vancouver Island and pray to the gods of war that they bring us a full length soon.
The band has made the decision to keep their lyrics a secret and, due to the vocal style of the band, the lyrics are indecipherable, so writing about specific song lyrics would be very difficult. What I have decided to do is to write about the band’s name, because that is a story I can write. DISCLAIMER: This is all etched in theory. Bloodborne, like the Souls games is cryptic and much is hidden about the story, so theory is the best I can offer, alongside the discoveries made by the community this game has created.
The band name, OrphanOfKos, is a reference to Bloodborne, a game I have played a great deal. The exact reference is a boss name, The Orphan of Kos. This boss is often considered to be the most difficult in the game with a tragic backstory to go alongside the fight. The Orphan is found in the depths of the fishing hamlet, a village full of peaceful people. At some point in the foggy history of this game, the scholars of Byrgenwerth invaded the village and violated its people. Experiments occurred in which the scholars forcibly checked the inside of the villager’s skulls for eyes, which are a sign of having great insight and being close or connected to a Great One. Great Ones are eldritch beings that descended from the cosmos or from the sea to have children. This was done by choosing human women and impregnating them. These beings cannot reproduce by themselves. They require vessels.
Through the course of the experiments, the villagers prayed to the Great Ones for deliverance. This deliverance came when a woman, who had been transformed into a Great One because of her impregnation, washed ashore and was found by the scholars. This Being’s name was Kos. The scholars intended on experimenting on her, but Kos proved too dangerous and was slain by the scholars. Although she was killed, Kos was pregnant with the child of a Great One. In one final effort, she cursed the scholars and gave power to the townspeople, who became sworn protectors of the secret child of Kos. The curse placed on the scholars, who eventually became the Hunters, made it so that if they ever became too blood or insight hungry again, they would become unsightly beasts and would be banished to the Hunter’s nightmare. Only a Hunter of the dream can find Kos and her child, who sits in wait in the womb of the corpse of its mother for said hunter, and put an end to the curse and the nightmare.
You play as this hunter in Bloodborne. When you eventually make it to this fight, which takes place on a beach surrounded by ocean and sheer cliff faces, you are met with the corpse of Mother Kos. As you approach, her child is born right in front of your eyes. The unnamed Orphan of Kos is a humanoid creature that is holding what appears to be its own bladed placenta. Without taking notice of you, The Orphan looks up at the moon and sobs. You approach The Orphan. It turns and shrieks, then charges and leaps towards you, slamming its placenta into the ground.
This fight is infamous as the hardest fight in the game and rightly so. The Orphan is one of the fastest enemies and hardest hitters and in a game where the player character is so fragile, you could end up dying in two to three hits. This is only amplified when in its second phase, which activates when The Orphan gets to around half health. This is when The Orphan grows wings, summons lightning, gets much faster, and does more damage with each hit. It is a difficult fight, but once you defeat it, The Orphan drops to its knees and fades away…but the fight isn’t over! When you look back at the corpse of Kos, you see a smaller apparition that appears to be made of smoke and resembles The Orphan. You hit the apparition, causing it to fade into more smoke and float toward the open sea. The bold red text NIGHTMARE SLAIN appears on the screen showing that you’ve put an end to this nightmare and can move on in your journey.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.