Last year around this time I was reviewing the debut album of Orphanage Named Earth. It was an album I enjoyed but had some remarks on as well. My two main remarks on the album were that the vocals tended to be a bit monotonous and secondly that the songwriting became a little formulaic. Not in a way it hindered the listening experience, but the end result could have been better with more variation. However, within a year the band is now back with a new album. Have they solved the issues within their debut? Let’s find out!
The band still calls their music romantic crust. On this record, that moniker makes more sense to me. I interpret the term romantic in the sense of the romantic era. Part of that is the longing for a time (that never was) where everything was better. That longing was already present on the debut album but is much more on the foreground on this record. Take the samples that are used throughout this record, they portray a world through romantic eyes in my opinion. And it works wonders for the record by really setting the mood. This mood is also expressed by the quotes you can find at the end of each song lyric posted on the band's Bandcamp.
Music-wise the band still plays post-metal with crusty parts thrown in for good measure. On this second album, the post-metal has gained some ground on the crust side of things. The same ingredients are used but in a slightly different composition. This enhances two things that lead to a better record: The flow of the songs is more natural and most songs have a certain tension that really gets under your skin.
The album starts off with “They,” a soft guitar tune with spoken word setting the mood and leading you into the album. “Cradle To The Grave” takes over and starts with tribal chanting after which a post-metal-ish song really kicks the record into the right gear. Track number four, “I Look Beyond” is the first (and only) track that doesn’t really work for me. The main reason is that I find this track to be too repetitive. Starting each sentence with “civilised” is an interesting style form, but it becomes really monotonous after a while.
The lyrics on this album are focused on what we lost, on the dangers of modern society, on forgetting we are all human. Strong stuff if you ask me; it makes you think about how you live and the choices you make. The metaphor about butterflies that ties a couple of songs together may sound a bit awkward, I thought so at first, but it's grown on me and I appreciate it now.
The last thing to discuss is the production. On the previous album, I thought it was too loud. This time around there seems to be more room for dynamics in the production. The bass is still not the favorite instrument of the producer, but the drums sound so much better compared to their debut.
This second album offers an improvement on all fronts; the main issues I saw on the debut appear to be fixed. This is an album I will come back to a lot and I highly recommend.
8.0 / 10
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