Spain's Orthodox are revered by the drone/doom/metal community but their newest album, Amacer en Puerta Oscura could as easily pass itself off as free-improv or experimental music. Yeah there are epic heavier-than-thou sludgefest moments that remind you that you're listening to a Southern Lord slab of utter darkness, but there's also experimental moments of clarinet, cymbal wash and double-bass that bear no resemblance to anything most people will have ever considered metal or doom.
<p> Some may consider vocals the one weak link the Orthodox chain. Sounding a bit like a strained combination of Boris and Om, they give context to the band, which I think sullies the otherwise 'beyond comparison' quality of the record. Not terrible but probably not necessary - the music alone could easily stand on its own merits. </p> <p> Their pioneering spirit makes Orthodox a refreshing listen - they seem to know no genre boundaries and as such will advance the scene they're coming out of and could easily win fans from the jazz, experimental and free-improv camps as well. An upcoming collaboration with a Spanish flamenco dancer is proof positive that these guys are not content to dwell solely within the tried and true doom domain from which they have emerged. </p> <p> The dramatic shift between sounds gives both styles room to breathe. Metal album of the year? Possibly. If you want to hear metal that pushes boldy into uncharted, avant-garde territory, you really ought to check out <em>Amacer en Puerta Oscura</em>. Brilliant album. </p>