O.R.k. – Ramagehead

Kscope 2019

O.R.k. - Ramagehead

O.R.k. –
Ramagehead

Art-rock über-ensemble seek for serenity in temporal squall yet fail to find a pot of gold.

“Ramagehead” is where imagination can run rampant, picturing a tree crown with individual branches entwined to form a rounded figure and to support each other. And that’s how it goes for this international collective whose third offering is fine-tuning their formula – if there’s one – of melting sweet melodies in metallic bouillon in order to outline despondency. But it’s not the new world order the artists are after now; it’s the pursuit of happiness in the gloomy present to defy the period of uncertainty. So while the wondrously subdued “Time Corroded” may be the most topical piece on display, the thick, throbbing textures opener “Kneel To Nothing” see angry angularity married to sensual strum – a perfectly penetrable wall of sound, O.R.k.’s defining quality.

Their ways won’t corrode so easily, as the effervescent “Down The Road” is willing to show in the dark light of Colin Edwin ‘s bass, even though “Signals Erased” drowns a bel canto lead-in molten lead for the resulting swirl to reflect the quartet’s righteous rage at communicational issues. Dealing wit the same unattainability, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari’s sensual voice and ivories of “Beyond Sight” have Buckleys-like Gothic grandeur fueled by Pat Mastelotto’s delicate drumming, but it’s choral harmonies and acoustic lace on “Black Blooms” – which Serj Tankian’s vocals infuse with gravity – that expose the record to operatic transparency before heavy riffs take the song off the ground. Still, Carmelo Pipitone’s orchestral licks behind “Some Other Rainbow” – a bookend for the spirited pop of “Strangled Words” – must distill the ensemble’s method to funereal solemnity and hopeful uplift: this would be so logical – to search for a different rainbow to cross if the one offered to you doesn’t hide no riches at the end.

That’s where mutual support might come in handy. That’s where “Ramagehead” feels as a winner.

****4/5

April 3, 2019

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