This EP features two new songs and a Pink Floyd cover, and is the band’s follow up release to 2015’s very enjoyable Matter as Regent.
Continuing their theme of taking the standard post-metal template, (if there is such a thing), and bending it to their will, Wells Valley have produced a decent-length EP of very enjoyable dark music.
Mixing the intensity of Cult of Luna at their darkest with the apocalyptic churning of Neurosis at their most lethal, there’s a real bite to Annunciation, the first song. The track also demonstrates more of a black metal side to the band, although this is not always apparent throughout every part of its playing time.
The build/release post-metal mechanic is used well, hidden within the band’s atypical delivery. Although I really like the slightyly softer/more nuanced parts of the song, I absolutely adore the main heavy riffs; absolutely grim and harrowing stuff. With the blackened screams raging over the top of them too…this first track is absolutely killer.
After this is Ophanium. Slightly shorter than Annunciation, this too boasts an incredibly Hellish main heavy riff that sounds as if it has been conjured by daemons rather than played on a guitar. Soon after, a more traditionally heavy riff takes over, added to by deep growls, and the song stomps by with malevolent attitude and imposing stature. There are a few faster sections included on this one, and the song feels a bit more upbeat in general, even adding some Mastodon-esque flourishes to the guitars here and there.
After a few minutes the band seem to run out of steam and descend into dark, droning introspection, only then to revitalise and restart with another colossal riff that could knock down buildings. The monolithic growls and grim screams are really well-done. It ends with a true Neurosis-styled swirling tribal beat, before fading back into the dark depths from whence it came.
We’re not done yet though, as the final song is a cover of Pink Floyd’s Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. This takes the Pink Floyd version and runs it through the post-metal mechanisation factory, ending up with something that alternates between light doom and heavy savagery. It works.
Overall, a very strong release from Wells Valley. If the two original songs on here are any indicators, then The Orphic shows that the band are on track to produce a phenomenal second album at some point.