Sunday, July 17, 2011

White Orange - S/T (Made In China, 2011)

I’d like to file this Portland quartet comfortably between progressive and sludge metal. Unfortunately, their sound is not that simple and it would be an injustice for me to label them as such. They are mesmerizing. With a slick, complex production and a swirling, psychedelic personality all their own, this overdriven, fuzzed out metal behemoth combines a multitude of influences while remaining completely unique.

With regret, I must do a lot of name-dropping here. They borrow from hard rock and metal bands like Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Nebula, The Sword and Mastodon; also included are hints of grunge such as Mudhoney and Nirvana; and there’s a nice touch with vocal sounds not far removed from Al Jourgensen’s Wax Trax days.

I want to call this stoner rock but in good conscience, I cannot. White Orange are more akin to drinking a vat of liquid acid. Space rock? Sure, but these guys travel by way of a wormhole to another dimension. Upon arrival, they are vacuumed into a black hole and spit out the other side, only slightly singed by the neighboring red dwarf.

All metaphors aside, the recurring musical theme of this album is always endearing and tasteful repetition is always welcomed. With fascinating time signature changes, the material never stales.

Rarely does anything so progressive compel this intelligently. White Orange ar masters of their craft and deliver their unusual message with grace and tact. Several times during my first listen I found myself drifting off into a bit of a trance. There is an innovative brand of psychedelia presented here that is currently unmatched. What we have here is a forty-four minute album that feels like a lifetime. This band is musical DMT.

The opening track hooked me with a Hawkwind “Psychedelic Warlords” feel. Not much later, there are lyrics that command us to “set the controls for the heart of the sun”. With that theme engaged, White Orange offer us an uncanny narrative that is sure to stake their claim as a new breed of metal.

buy it

This article originally appeared in DOA

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