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O.R.k: Ramagehead

Initially known for containing King Crimson drum-man Pat Mastelotto and ex-Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin, O.R.k have, over two previous albums, built up a strong enough reputation for the focus to be now more about the music. Especially when the less renowned guitarist Carmelo Pipitone and singer Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (or LEF) are undoubted equals in this quartet. Ramagehead is the band’s third album and by all accounts is a darker, meatier, more brooding affair that moves the O.R.k sound on quite significantly.

Opener “Kneel To Nothing” combines a hook-hitting melody line with the shimmering percussive power of Mastelotto and the almost sideways glancing 80s pop edge that seems to be extremely prevalent on the modern day prog scene. Oddly hypnotic in structure, the metronomic to and fro of drums and bass click straight into your mind as LEF beckons you into this threatening set play. “Signals Erased” ups the ante; aggressive and forceful as a mid-song breakdown allows the vocals to plead for mercy and add to the air of desperation that never quite builds beyond the keen guitar work that underpins it all - LEF reminding, as he often does of Doug Pinnick of Kings X.

Running to only 39 minutes (a mere aperitif in prog circles) Ramagehead decides to get its message across in double quick time, the more atmospherically built “Beyond Sight” refusing to conform to type while still feeling connected to its surrounds. System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian turns up to offer his distinctive tones to the “Black Blooms” duet which, if anything, actually is steeped ever more deeply in the desperate air of claustrophobia that permeates much of this record. The results being a swirling, swooping highlight.

And so the journey continues, “Time Corroded” jagged in its melody and bitter sweet in its executions, while “Down The Road” soars and dives on some excellent vocal layers and a percussive closing construction of no little skill. Leaving the short “Some Other Rainbow Part 1” to faintly remind of Steven Wilson meeting Muse in a classical setting, before the haunting “Strangled Words” struggles to remain within the containment of the melancholic swipe that bookends it - a trick continued on the column of sounds and movement that closes proceedings in a similarly downbeat but defiant air.

Ramagehead may be something of a departure, it may also be something of an enigmatic collection that somehow feels a whole lot more engaging than the individual parts it contains. One thing’s for sure and that’s for all that this is an immediately engaging album, it certainly takes numerous visits to unravel, but, thankfully, as you reveal its inner story so you are rewarded for your endeavours.

Track Listing
1. Kneel To Nothing
2. Signals Erased
3. Beyond Sight
4. Black Blooms (feat. Serj Tankian)
5. Time Corroded
6. Down The Road
7. Some Other Rainbow Part 1
8. Strangled Words
9. Some Other Rainbow Part 2

Added: May 15th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: ORk at Kscope
Hits: 1461
Language: english

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O.R.k: Ramagehead
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-05-15 23:00:03
My Score:

I have been curious about the band O.R.k. for some time now but had yet to check them out. They have been around for a while now releasing Inflamed Rides in 2015 followed by their 2017 release Soul Of An Octopus. They are back with a brand new album titled Ramagehead.

Ramagehead is a really interesting disc merging alternative, electronic and progressive rock into a highly entertaining brew. It’s a very moody and sometimes dark album, often quite dramatic both musically and vocally. The first track “Kneel To Nothing” features an initial wave of vocals followed by heavy rhythms creating an intense sound palette. The lead vocals are excellent, in fact, the vocals are superb throughout the disc. It’s both dramatic and intense at times with excellent guitar riffs and bass while maintaining a certain level of sophistication. Clean acoustic guitar and a quirky sound along with stratospheric guitar bending highlight “Signals Erased” which also features some great builds. Just an excellent track. “Beyond Sight” veers in a more pop direction, very melodic with layered vocals and swirling keyboards. The vocal arrangement is a major highlight. “Black Blooms” features multiple vocalists including the lead vocals of System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian who does an excellent job. More fantastic vocals highlight the catchy and moody “Strangled Words”, a song of altering shades of heavy and light and high drama. The last track “Some Other Rainbow Part 2” begins with ominous electronics and effects followed by Mastelotto’s clean drum fills, Fornasari's cool synths and Pipitone's melodic guitar.

To put it simply Ramagehead is a superb listen, front to back. Progressive minded fans should find a lot to love with this one. Now I really need to listen to Soul Of An Octopus.

Released on Kscope Music.

O.R.k. is:
Colin Edwin (fretted and fretless basses)
Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari - aka Lef (Vocals, keyboards, electronics)
Carmelo Pipitone (acoustic and electric guitars)
Pat Mastelotto (acoustic and electric drums, percussions)

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