Orochen: Thylacine

Göteborg band Orochen draw from a wide variety of dark and heavy music, and they don't hesitate to cite names as disparate as Woven Hand, Mono, Joy Division and Neurosis among their influences, constituting a sound which leans toward both a contemporary folk and Americana direction, and sludge and post metal. Thylacine, the band's third EP, explores all that, and ultimately it's a strong achievement.

The new EP comes with a bold heavy indie rock feel, with three of its four tracks blending together into something quite homogeneous. Then, there's the staggering closer which arrives like an earthmover to leave the listener provoked and astounded.

Burial Mounds starts the record with memorable riffs and a strong performance, becoming an acidic comment on consumerism and setting the tone for what's about to follow. The murkier Drift Away shows more of the band's atmospheric qualities, as those are mingled with a completely accessible style of songwriting, and it's a study on faith and mankind's connection to it, as the song even borders on gospel, coming across with a dark sense of spirituality. 

The livelier, Inside the City, gives a picture of modern life angst rather accurately. The band describe: "The song is about the difference between the lifestyle in the modern city versus the life we as humans have lived in past generations and the psychological effects of this change. It is about being trapped in your own mind, the feeling of complete isolation and not being able to integrate with the outside world. A world that is constantly moving and not suited for everyone."

The Jonestown Death Tape is based exactly on what its title suggests, and becomes the piece that redirects the band's focus, presenting an unbearably dark twist which occurs with much confidence. The track features a recording of Jim Jones' speech from the evening of the historic incident when over 900 people lost their lives though collective suicide, while the hair-raising vocal of Novarupta's Alex Stjernfelt is another key ingredient which helps turn Orochen's dark Americana sound into a blackened sludge hybrid with total coherence.

Thylacine comes acute and excellently produced by Orochen, with mixing and mastering by stoner rocker Karl Daniel Lidén (Dozer, Demon Cleaner, Greenleaf) whose production credits also include albums by Crippled Black Phoenix and Dozer.

Orochen are Hampus Olsson (drums), Rasmus Lindblom (bass), Jonas Mattsson (guitars, vocals) and Emil Gustavsson (guitar, vocals). Thylacine is out now through Suicide Records.

Artist photo courtesy of Orochen

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