Review: With Our Arms to the Sun – Orenda

album-cover.jpgWritten by Jeff Moore

With Our Arms to the Sun, a four-piece Post-Metal/Progressive Metal band, are coming out with a new album, titled Orenda. I know, I know, another prog nerd talking about an album, I get it. These guys are really moving the genre forward though, and I had the fortunate opportunity to give this album a listen.

Orenda starts off strong, with the opener “Disdain-Why Am I.” Immediately, you know these guys mean business, as the song starts off with a soft intro then hurtles into a super-crunch harsh vocal onslaught. Drums flaring, along with some excellent melody laid down by their talented guitarist. The riffage doesn’t stop there though, as the song progresses into a mellow, clean sounding, almost spoken word verse. The song kicks it back up a notch, which these guys have obviously mastered, into the next song, seamlessly.

The band describes themselves as a cinematic musical experience, which hits the nail on the head better than anything I could come up with here. The next song, “Memory-The Drift,” feels like a typical prog-rock song, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Josh Breckenridge definitely shows off his vocal range in this song, which is impressive; he hits high wailing notes, and immediately turns it around into a dark, harsh, emotion filled growl.

“Doorway to Clarity” gives the band a bit to show you just how they’ve mastered their instruments. Soft, precise guitar work, followed up with a strong bass line that is absolutely locked in with the drums. You can really feel yourself start to lose yourself in the music.

Ah, “Macrocosm-Prometheus;” this is my favorite song on Orenda. If we’re talking baseball, this song is a cycle. It touches on everything that makes a prog album, well, a prog album. The song starts off right where “Doorway to Clarity” ends, but it doesn’t take long for it to pick up. This song is the most dynamic in my opinion, between wailing guitars that fit in perfectly with the atmosphere, to the vocals of which are simply astounding.

“Apex-100 Year Dream” turns the corner on this album, it gets a little too intro and outro heavy for me here. The drums are absolutely stellar on this track, they’re definitely the driving force of this song.

“Regret-Sailing Stones” is the song that plays most to the atmosphere of Orenda. This song gets you absolutely lost in the music, drifting away to the echoing sounds of the drums and the rock solid bass line. Another high point of the album.

“Homebound-March of the Trees” closes out Orenda on a high note; this high energy song, gives you the urge to headbang and get up and move around once the song finally gets going. The last minute leaves you wanting more from these guys, much like I do.

Orenda is a thrill ride, it satisfies all the cravings, whether you’re in it for the lyrics or the instruments – both are top notch. Another plus about Orenda and With Our Arms to the Sun, is the album artwork. Who doesn’t love listening to Prog-Metal and looking at aliens? With Our Arms to the Sun, consider me a fan. 8\10

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