Review Summary: A combination of intense grooves and impassioned emotional moments make Redfog one of 2018's finest metal releases.
Hailing from the depths of southern Sweden, Orbit Culture are a four-piece melodic death metal band that takes the occasional cue from other subgenres, such as groove and progressive metal. With a set of diverse influences listed in their biography including the likes of Humanity’s Last Breath, Meshuggah, and Gojira, the four Swedes are bound to have a recipe for creating brilliant and engaging metal. The experience they have gained in such a short period of time is worthy of note, as Redfog
is well worth remembering for those who’ve witnessed it.
Within the span of roughly thirty minutes, you’re met with what’s best described as a mixture of melodic and groovy instrumental passages delivered in an intensely passionate form. Lead singer Niklas Karlsson shows the listener a wide range of vocal styles, transitioning between soul-crushing screams and gritty, melodic cleans seamlessly. His influence doesn’t overpower the rest of the mix, as the groovy passages on the title track “Redfog”, “Saw”, and “Way of the Masses” are still primarily driven by drummer Markus Bladh’s hand. Bass is audible as well, and Fredrik Lennartson’s impact on the instrumentation is all-but-forgotten in a sea of bands that mistreat their bass players. When the music eventually slows down, such as on “See Through Me” and “The Newborn One”, the band retains their inspiration and musical strength. Another note is that despite every song surpassing the five minute mark, the band doesn’t overstay their welcome in any capacity.
The lyrics take a much darker and more personal turn than is usually the case in this style of metal, and Redfog
is all the better for it. “See Through Me” sees singer and primary writer Niklas Karlsson lamenting about loneliness and feeling as if he has nobody to lean on during his darkest hour, whilst also potentially serving as a vague social critique of environmental destruction with lines such as “explain / everything that's right and what's wrong with our falling earth” in the song’s bridge. “The Newborn One” tackles the subject of the afterlife, “Way of the Masses” provides more social critiques, and “Saw” seems to entail a desire to push through the writer’s mental instability. While not wholly invested in wallowing in one’s own misery, the more personal touches to Karlsson’s lyricism combined with his passionate delivery do increase the emotional strength of the music a fair bit.
Orbit Culture are a band that desperately needs far more attention than they get, and this thirty minute trek into the mind of Niklas Karlsson is living proof of that. His production capabilities are equally noteworthy; Redfog
truly sounds massive, similar to the likes of Gojira’s The Way of All Flesh
in its scope. Their mixture of melodic death metal and groove metal is sonically dynamic and well-constructed to begin with, but it’s the amount of drive that the four Swedes that make up Orbit Culture possess that makes the whole experience worthwhile. I’m looking forward to what they have to offer in the future.