Riddle of Meander Orcus

Riddle of Meander play what we could easily describe as “standard black metal”, in that it adheres to the usage and application of technique and composition style that characterizes the genre; such strict adherence, however, does not in any way impede them from presenting ideas of their own as someone who is expressing himself in any human spoken or written language does not need to reinvent the wheel of the language or the way ideas are expressed in order to deliver a valuable insight. The music here remains mostly at around a guarded slow-to-slightly-fast pacing, while introducing blast beats for intensifying effect without letting them be an afterthought; this is perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of this album: that despite the non-innovative approach it is able to subsume a variety of vocabulary to its own purposes without them ever feeling out of place or as a collection of tropes, as one spirit is expressed through them.

Orcus is the second full-length album by Riddle of Meander coming out two years after their debut, End of All Life and Creation, and greatly improving upon it in terms of dynamism (in the sense of organic mobility between more distinct modes of expression) without losing in the strengths of the first; we find here that the composer of the music is more sure of his decisions, and while we saw a prudent shyness about the adventurousness and twists in the music in the first album, Orcus embraces what were occasional jumps and reserved hints and now makes use of them unabashedly to move the music forwards with increased potency, allowing the music to thrust not only forward but farther into different territories.

The music in this mature release shows a band that is in dominion and has a certain focus, thereby carrying the music beyond, or raising it above itself; and while this statement might be misconstrued by applying a dualistic interpretation of a separation between form(aesthetic) and meaning(essence), what is actually meant here is that one can perceive and trace a goal in the music, perhaps expressed through the progression of moods and changes, however small they are, that makes the music not about its presentation or about a conceptual idea to which the music is soundtrack, but as the music as the enacting of the action itself. In effect, this is music as it should be, encapsulated and holistic, well-rounded and concise despite expressiveness.

In light of these highly positive traits, there is something to be said for the lyrical content, at least in what one may glimpse from the titles of the songs; for now it may suffice to say that one may find here more than your average satanic expression, divested from the usual mother worship or simpleton craving for destruction that one may see more commonly paraded elsewhere; instead, there is an interesting combination of references to witchcraft in its very earthy and private sense —the only way it can be remotely in touch with reality— and a black alchemy, the ars regia of self-realization and self-overcoming, thus hinting at a more Traditional approach to living that address the need to counter the tide of the current era.

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