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HANDS OF ORLAC
HANDS OF ORLAC
Hands Of Orlac
(Horror Records)
42:05min

There are now at least three big so-called returns to old styles of Metal. First, the shortly lived Thrash scene, only a small fraction of which went on to record anything good. Second, the Death Metal revival (in my view, this scene in particular may boast to having the highest volume of good bands). And lastly, a comparatively small, but mighty and potent upwelling of Heavy Metal / Doom bands whose core sound, obviously derived from BLACK SABBATH, ranges across time. From the mysterious, melodious, occult-themed 1970s, to the high-pitched banshee wails of KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE. The Danish label, Horror Records, signed one such band from Italy. The band’s name is HANDS OF ORLAC, and their debut record, titled “Hands Of Orlac”, ought to impress listeners. From the title track, 'Hands Of Orlac', can be heard a strong MERCYFUL FATE influence. The soloing, rhythm sections, and wailing screams confirm. 'Castle Of Blood' has what at first seem to be two vocalists, or what sounds like two voices, which, like two guitars switching off leads, one voice chants a chorus, another sings a verse. This, plus the flute sections, give the song a haunting feel. I cannot say for certain, since the band members’ aliases are one letter long, but the singer is probably a woman. Hey, some men sound like women. Remember CONFESSOR? “G”, as the liner notes identify her, does a splendid job. 'Vengeance From The Grave' starts fast, building momentum, then lets off as the drums beat slowly, and the flute plays until the quick pace resumes. It might be the best track on the album but for serious competition by 'Lucinda'. 'Lucinda' has flute passages, slow beats, slow and heavy everything - but it also has more speed than 'Vengeance' and at least two solos that destroy everything else on the album. HANDS OF ORLAC may soon join ACID WITCH and JEX THOTH among the more appreciated new Doom acts. Fantastic record. www.myspace.com/orlachands

Nathan Shapiro

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