O.R.k. – Screamnasium

[Kscope, 2022]

Intro: Christos Minos

The band O.R.k. comes from the partnership of well-known musicians and is a project that crosses different genres and references: from progressive metal to grunge, and from math-rock to electronic music. The band of former Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin, King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, Marta sui Tubi guitarist Carmelo Pipitone and Lef (Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari) on vocals offers an interesting perspective on contemporary progressive music.


 

The alt-prog we’ve missed so much

O.R.k. could be called a supergroup, but the characterization does not fit the description of their identity and by extension their music. Screamnasium, featuring an eerie skull image on the cover co-created by Tool’s Adam Jones and Marvel designer Denis Rodier, is the band’s fourth full-length album. The record proves the stability of the band and their dedication to the vision of their musical direction which can hardly be unequivocally placed in a specific genre.

Their music balances between progressive sounds and alternative rock with unique ease. The tracks of the album are short in duration and characterized by robust technique intertwined with lyricism. It is noteworthy that what the band members had done in the past are shown only a little bit in the compositions of the album.

The spotlight without a doubt focuses on the unique rhythm section consisting of Colin Edwin and Pat Mastelotto on which the body of their compositions is built. On the other hand, a catalytic contribution is made by Carmelo Pipitone who creates the melodies with his guitar on which Lef stars with his voice.

Apart from the eclectic progressive sound, what makes it different is a voice that certainly reminds us of the late Chris Cornell and strangely, at points, reminds the fragile complexion of the great Jeff Buckley. Listen to I Feel Wrong which could be taken from Grace

Heavy tracks, emitting an aura from early ’90s Seattle, such as Unspoken Words, As I leave and Deadly Bite coexist with more melodic and perhaps more experimental tracks such as Hope For the Ordinary and Lonely Crowd. Each piece has its own coherence and is a mosaic made of different materials, but still the album sounds solid.

In Screamnasium there are also some guest musicians who offer another dimension to the final result. On Consequence, Italian singer Elisa Toffoli’s voice blends harmoniously with Lef’s voice to create one of the best tracks on the record. On Someone Waits, cellist Jo Quail cooperates perfectly with the band to impressively close a remarkable record.

The fifth album of O.R.k. it is another proof of their quality as a band with nice direct songs that can captivate you with their inventive melodies. Undeniably, the Lef’s vocal performance adds a lot to a record that stands out in the plethora of new releases. Screamnasium may not be a masterpiece, in the sense that it doesn’t contain anything we haven’t heard before, but it can be described as a very good record.

7.5 / 10

Christos Minos

 

2nd opinion

 

When I first heard the fifth album of O.R.k. I remembered how much I miss the combination of alternative rock and prog that made the 00s so interesting. The difference is that the sound of the O.R.k. is comparatively more based on the 90s and mainly the American version of this particular sound. Colin Edwin and Pat Mastelotto’s rhythm section is simply delightful and Carmelo Pipitone’s guitar work is essential and perfectly on point. However, the one who stands out on the whole album is Lef who gives probably the best vocal performance of 2022. That this, not only because he manages to sound like a combination of Chris Cornell and Jeff Buckley, but mainly because he stands on that level with ease. Screamnasium is a very good record and it would be much more than that if it didn’t remind you of something almost throughout (if that’s necessarily a bad thing). Favorite tracks: As I Leave, Don’t Call Me A Joke, Someone Waits.

7.5 / 10

Dimitris Kaltsas