Orc’s self-titled debut album hurls hot fuzz factor five riffs of stone that have the Dark Lord running for cover.
Look up “orc” on Wikipedia and you get a definition that says, “In Tolkien’s works, orcs are brutish, aggressive, ugly and malevolent race.” The new self-titled debut from Lansing, Michigan’s Orc is definitely brutish and aggressive. However, the new Orc album differs significantly from the fictional beings with music that is beautifully heavy and benevolent to the soul.
Orc is the creation of Andy Jeglic (Bass/Vocals) and Connor Peil (Drums). While hard-rocking duos are not unheard of, it is rare. To fill out the sonic dimensions, Andy employs multiple signal paths from his bass and some type of octave pedal. The effect is as if a bass and low-tuned guitar are charging into the gap with guns blazing in a firestorm of fuzz.
Because the bass guitar is also providing melodic lines, the drums stand alone to hold the rhythmic fort. Connor excels by keeping the music sprinting forward. His fills anchor and accent the melodic focus on each song. The drum tone overall is great with a hard-punching snare that makes each track pop.
The music on the self-titled debut from Orc is in a word, captivating. The riffs stick like superglue and blaze within a fluorescent shimmer of unworldly fuzz. One key element that makes the music so compelling is the vocals. Andy’s vocals exhibit great range and a pant-load of dynamics and power. While it can’t be denied that Andy’s vocals are strongly similar in timbre to Chris Cornell, they also have the weighty force of the legendary Ronnie James Dio.
The opening track, “This Drunk World,” provides the perfect shot of what Orc is all about. Connor’s drums set you up for the oncoming riff rampage. As your head is rocking to the fist-pumping groove, Andy’s forceful vocals set your hair on end.
If you’re looking for a frame of reference for Orc’s debut album, think Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and Screaming Trees. Songs such as “I Got Mine” and “Showdown” hit with punchy grooves and roots that bore into the base of your skull. This music demands to be played loud.
While Orc’s debut is plentiful with fuzz-rock love, you also get a sense of adventure beyond stock Sabbath riffs. There is certainly no shame in worshipping at the altar of Sabbath, yet Orc offers something more. For example, check out the song called “The Villian.” The riffs are wily with the surprise of syncopation. The chorus is gripping and encourages you to sing along. Another tune that journeys into a more progressive realm is “Cerberus.” The main motif holds tension that cascades into the chorus. You get a degree of depth and extermination that makes these songs sparkle and are more aligned with say Mastodon and Soundgarden.
The self-titled debut by Orc is a foot-stomping ride through massive fields of fuzz-rock. Over the nine songs on this album, you will get groovy hooks, ingenious riffs, and top flight musical chops. All this from a hard-rocking duo that will certainly earn a place on your playlist.