Review: Twisted Mist – Orbios

Twisted Mist is a Reims, France based duo that has been around, initially as a quartet, since 2014. Their halving is not the only major change this band has gone through since their formation. Their initial goal was to find a spot in the death metal genre, but eventually their music evolved into pagan folk metal, which is what they currently play. The influence of death metal is certainly not gone, but it is definitely not the main dish the two guys,  Olivier and Nicolas, serve to their fans on Orbios, their 3rd release after Mortui Vivos Docent and Le Brâme. The folk style clearly has the upper hand here, marked by the sweet tunes and the use of traditional folk instruments including but not limited to the flute, the bouzouki and the hurdy-gurdy. However, the implementation of the aforementioned death metal within the folky tunes, in well-placed small sections, is equally determining for the band’s sound. Vocals are, much like the death metal influences, strategically placed in small chunks and are generally growls. Orbios contains seven songs, spanning a grand total of a little over forty minutes.

The album opens with Matir where a single flute is subsequently joined by strings, percussion and several other instruments weaving an enchanting rhythm leading to a guitar-lead part during which the vocals are introduced into the mix. It’s a slow, highly atmospheric song that, hopefully, is the harbinger of what is yet to come. Successor Vae Soli does not disappoint, as it too is quite an atmospheric song, though in a different, at times almost ritualistic fashion. The Gregorian sounding vocals at the start, the whispers later on and the countering drum roll followed by a rather heavy guitar riff shows that Twisted Mist is capable of both deploying and merging a wide variety of style into an organic whole. Mixing variously atmospheric base lines interspersed with, in comparison to this, relatively heavy parts is clearly Twisted Mist’s modus operandi, as this combination is to be found throughout the entirety of this release.

So does this make this release boring then? No, it does not. Not at all even, mostly because there’s plenty of variety in the songs, the combination of folk and metal used and the whether or not intended atmosphere-determined mood of the song. At times it’s rather uplifting, almost merry, but definitely folky, at other times it’s more dark, subtly leaning towards the haunting atmosphere black metal can conjure at times. All in all this is a more than interesting release, provided their favored style fits yours of course. If you like your music raging, full of fire and aggressive, this one will most likely not be for you, but other than that I really fail to see any reason why you shouldn’t give this a serious try. It pretty much offers the best of two musical worlds, folk and metal, speckled with plenty of melodic parts, atmospheric mood changes and guitar riffs, all well-executed and produced at that. Great release, a serious year list contender.

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