MAMA Performer Series: ORPHAN BLOOM – The Wary Traveler

CD Reviews 23 May 2012

Orphan Bloom will perform at the 9th Annual Madison Area Music Awards, Saturday, June 2 at the Capitol Theater in the Overture Center. See for more details.


ORPHAN BLOOMThe Wary Traveler

(2011 Self-Release)

If you picked up Orphan Bloom’s excellent self-titled debut in 2010 and didn’t think they could get any more intense you would be dead wrong. The progressive metal quartet pick up right where they left off with this follow-up 4-song EP released in December.

Case in point: the last track, “Vanity’s End” a sledgehammering dirge that eclipses with vocalist Alex Kress wailing “You fool you / you crossed me for the last time.” He takes it up a register and then, when you think he can’t possibly go any higher – he does. The track then melts into a cacophony of feedback and sustain that would shock any conservative to their core.

The title track is a clinic in Zeppelin-like heavy riffage melded with bluesy, melodic lyrical lines. The guitar interplay between Kress and lead guitarist Saigopal Nelaturi in the middle section is intricate and inspired.

Orphan Bloom builds the tension right from the start. “Hole in the Ocean” starts with an arpeggiated guitar line before exploding into the first verse, the band deftly maneuvering between tempo and time changes throughout. The rhythm section is very impressive, completing the stellar front-line vocal and guitar razzle-dazzle that Kress and Nelaturi bring.

“The Siren’s Eyes” displays the band’s abilities to go psychedelic with vocal layers and effects while the band churns, building up a complex rhythmic foundation, always returning to the hook in the chorus. There is an extended coda that exemplifies the band’s trippy side.

The Wary Traveler was recorded at Blast House Studios and while it lacks some of the sheen that the debut album had, it gives the band a denser, heavier sound. The four songs flow together so well it’s easy to miss the fact that a new song has started. Orphan Bloom defies categorization. Rock, definitely, but a hybrid of many disparate influences and one of Madison’s strongest live acts.

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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