ALBUM: ORBS – Asleep Next To Science

Release Date: August 17th, 2010
Label: Equal Vision


ORBS is a band featuring Dan Briggs of Between The Buried And Me, Chuck Johnson of Torch Runner, Adam Fisher and Clayton Holyoak of Fear Before and Ashley Ellyllon, previously of Abigail Williams but now with Cradle Of Filth. So in a sense, ORBS can be classed as a supergroup. The sound encompasses all of the above bands and this makes ‘Asleep Next To Science’ an ambient, heavy, dark and totally diverse album.

Album opener ‘Sayer Of The Law’ sets the tone for the rest of the album. It starts off with a pulsing drive of guitar and drums until the synth weaves its way in and vocalist Adam Fisher‘s unique style carries in that fusion like a leaf in the wind. His voice winds and twists around and over the music beautifully, while the synth patters away at the continual drumbeat and the heavy guitars, leaving the listener mesmerised by the unique sound the band are creating. The song is over seven minutes long but its length doesn’t make it a drag to listen to – if anything, it makes it seem shorter because so many genres are being surpassed and it’s a joy to listen to.

‘The Northwestern Bearitories B: Kid Cancer’ shows the band at their most haunting. A piano is used to great effect while the guitars harmonize and strain under the pounding drumbeat. The vocals range from plain singing to in-your-face screams while the song sways from ambient alternative rock to metal that is in the veins of early The Dillinger Escape Plan. The lyrics also show the band’s talent: “I can’t be remembered / As a great adventurer / Make a mark / I’ll make a stain / And take it for what it is”. These lyrics can mean many different things, and it’s up to the listener to decide for themselves what they mean. This sums the band up perfectly as their music evokes many different emotions, such is the talent of the songwriting.

The album ends with the 14 minute long epic ‘Eclipsical’. It’s a fitting end as the song contains every genre the album has enclosed. The joint vocal work of Ashley Ellyllon and Adam Fisher works devastatingly, Dan Briggs‘ guitar work ranges from huge metal solos to jazz-like riffs but at the same time he still manages to keep in touch with the band’s unique sound. Drummer Clayton Holyoak also shows his talent, not missing a beat and letting the other instruments shine through. The bass-lines that Chuck Johnson lays down are impressive – showing that he too can’t be ignored as a very good, very talented musician. Ashley Ellyllon‘s synth is almost cosmic-like: it takes you from the heights of the song to the dark depths and adds the extra ambience that works so well for ORBS.

There’s not a bad song on this album, and if you’re a fan of Opeth, Isis or Mastodon then these may well be your new favourite band. And even if you’re not, then have a gander at this album just because of the sheer musicianship and inimitable sound that oozes from it. Exceptional.

Written by Rhys Milsom