Review: Dormant OrdealWe Had It Coming

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Polish death metal done right.

Combining the neuron-blurring sound of mid-era Decapitated and the sinister undertones of fellow countrymen Embrional, coupled with some of the fury of a band like Adversarial, are Kraków’s Dormant Ordeal. For whatever reason, when I originally saw the album cover I kind of expected the release to have a hardcore tinge to it. This was not to be the case though, as the quartet surprised me with a quality offering of technically-astute modern death metal. Throughout the 8 tracks, the band show great skill in balancing out the callous bouts of apocalyptic turmoil with the cerebral cortex penetrating sections. Never sticking to one aspect of their sound long enough for it to become boring, Dormant Ordeal manage to avoid what can be one of the most common pitfalls of this style, predictability. That’s not to say they’re erratic or struggle to allow the listener to settle into a groove for long enough for the songs to become enjoyable though. They just seem to have an innate sense of when to add another layer or chop to a different riff before things get too familiar.

The riffing on We Had It Coming is both venomous and assiduous. Utilising many of the techniques that have been used to great success by his contemporaries, in particular Decapitated’s Vogg, the sole guitarist Maciej shows commendable poise. Perhaps the stand-out aspect of his style is his application of the tremolo picked notes that are gradually bent back and forth out of pitch, creating a tense atmosphere that constricts and releases your synapses in an exceptionally pleasing manner. There are some dynamic moments I would like to see the band explore more too, such as the Byzantine-esque chord progression during the outro to album highlight “Stoning” (Track 2), along with a few creatively layered passages that wouldn’t seem astray if they were located on one of the recent Meshuggah releases. The third track “A Dim Reminder” shows the band at perhaps their most hostile, while the two-part album centrepiece “Derangement Zone” offers a more perplexing mind-bending approach, replete with hypnotic recurring undercurrents and some subtle but no less interesting lead work.

The band are listed as having two members performing vocal duties, both named Maciej. So I can confidently say that Maciej’s vocals are fairly consistent throughout, in terms of both tone and delivery. The gruffly roared lyrics manage to remain intelligible even though they are surely creating deep fissures in the throat. There some strong similarities to the vocal style employed on Neter‘s album Idols from last year (review). Actually, come to think of it, the band’s style as a whole is quite similar to that of the Spaniards. However, where Neter derive some of their intensity from echoing tribal patterns, Dormant Ordeal deftly tap into the tension one can establish by rubbing caustic riffs and small amounts of well-placed dissonance together with furious energy.

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For an unsigned band such as this, We Had It Coming is of superb quality. The musicianship, the production and above all, the songs themselves are all solid as fuck. There’s not a great deal here that I can fault. As Decapitated wane towards a groove-based lower energy state late in their career, a group of young satellite bands like Dormant Ordeal appear from their black shadowed umbra and show that Poland still kills. Maybe some orbital resonance will occur between the local giant and some of these younger Polish bands such as Embrional, Above Aurora, and Dormant Ordeal, reigniting their slowly cooling molten metal core. Wait, reignite metal core? No! Not that metalcore…

4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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Dormant Ordeal‘s We Had It Coming was released on the 19th of June and is available from their Bandcamp page for the meagre price of 25 PLN (US$6) for the CD version or Name Your Price for a digital copy. But don’t be a cheap prick, swing this independent band some PLN for this excellent record. They deserve the help, and you deserve this album.

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