Reviewed: [October 2020]
Released [2020 Self-released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If you’ve been jonesing for a new Gojira album since the band dropped its first new music in four years with the standalone single “Another World” – and its awesome yet ultimately depressing animated video – two months ago, I guess you’ll have to sit tight, since there’s pretty much been no further news since then. In the meantime, the debut album from Greece’s Oria can at least help scratch that itch – for better or worse.
The quartet do little to disguise the Gojira influence on their music on Sublimation(s), and indeed flaunt it to a certain extent by co-opting some of the flourishes that make Gojira, well, Gojira. The finger-picky guitar runs, screeching sweeps and hulking grooves; the stutter-stepping drum patterns and quaking bottom end; the off-kilter arrangements that mesh progressive fancy with death metal heft and inviting melodies are all there in abundance.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then tunes like the thundering opening tracks “Limitless Insanity” and “Template Of Nothingness” or “Regret The Fall” and “Fed To The Wrong” later on should leave Gojira positively blushing. But that’s probably not the best strategy for a new band to employ as they launch their recording career.
A bit less blatant are the simpler, djent meets hardcore ditty “Cope” or the epic triumvirate of “The Demon Beside My Bed,” “Blame Yourselves” and “Violated,” with each clocking in at about eight minutes or more as the band really stretch their progressive wings – with varying degrees of success. “Blame” and “Demon” make their mellow/heavy duality work quite well as they ebb and flow and are compelling works all the way, whereas “Violated” simply tries to cram too much into its already expansive space and never quite gels.
The best of the batch here, though, are actually the most restrained numbers. The King Crimson-like “Flisvus,” with its supple, spider-walk guitars and hymn-like chanting, and the mostly sparse, Western-tinged instrumental “The Weight Of Insanity” that follows show some genuine personality and would seem worth building on.
Oria certainly aren’t lacking in ambition. But they’ve still got some work to do with their song craft, delivery and, most of all, personality. Wearing your influences on your sleeves will only get you so far for so long, so the sooner they pack away the Gojira shirts – so to speak – the better.