Orplid - _Sterbender Satyr_
(Prophecy / Auerbach Tonträger, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (6.5 out of 10)
No, not -that- Satyr. The one on the title of Orplid's third album, and who also adorns its front cover, is derived from Greek mythology rather than Norwegian black metal.

This German duo explores a mixture of acoustic and electronic elements as a means to carry the vocals, both male and female, alternating from track to track but never mixed in a single song. The vocals, in turn, are used to communicate the lyrics -- and while that may seem obvious enough, in Orplid's case play a pivotal role in the music. Which is where I hit a considerable snag: the lyrics are entirely in German, which means that I (and most of the world) end up missing something between the vast majority and the entirety of their meaning. Not that German lyrics stopped Rammstein reaching huge commercial success, of course, but Orplid are a very different proposition: theirs is music made for a minority, a niche market. Said minority will likely find the ethereal soundscapes of _Sterbender Satyr_ quite rewarding, but the ubiquitous and very upfront vocals may make it difficult for some to relate to the occasionally sparse music in these circumstances. Having said that, the male vocals are very well rounded, a veritable instrument that is central to their compositions, so reactions to this mix are likely to vary considerably.

The album starts with male vocals and a bit of electronics in the background; unimpressed, I find the acoustic guitar that makes its debut in the second track considerably more promising, and the accompanying vocals work very well. The third track introduces electronic rhythms and some unusual, distinct female vocals, before an atmospheric instrumental serves as an interlude. The fifth track, "Amils Abendgebet" brings out the best in this album, with its successful interplay of acoustic guitar, electronic elements and male vocals; and from that point onward the album seems to glide uneventfully toward its final couple of tracks, failing to reveal any new elements whilst making variable use of the ones introduced earlier. "Heimkehr" and the title track close the record in a more interesting fashion, helping drag this effort into more favourable ground, but fail to disguise a number of relatively drawn out unremarkable passages scattered throughout the record. An interesting album nonetheless, though possibly restricted to a relatively small target audience.

Contact: http://www.auerbach.cd

(article published 27/2/2006)

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