O.R.k. – Ramagehead

    No, I have no idea what a Ramagehead is either, but this quixotic and enigmatic title seems entirely apposite for a third album of psychedelic Progressive Rock from this most discerning and intriguing of collectives. Combining the talents of Porcupine Tree’s bass general Colin Edwin and King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, this already sounds like a Fantasy Prog Band competition winner. Add in some vocals of an Obake vintage and you’re there. This could end up being the most intimidating and contrived ego-trip were it not handled carefully.

    Ye of little faith. 

    O.R.k. have honed their musical idiosyncrasies for the past decade and arriving at Kscope Records seems like the most obvious next step. In much the same way that Holy Roar Records have become the shorthand mark of quality for all things extreme, Kscope has been doing a similar role for progressive music over the past decade. This meeting of minds and progressive aesthetics not only feels right, it also feels like a turbocharging of the band’s momentum.

    Readers of a certain persuasion will doubtless have their interest in this album piqued from the inclusion of System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian and a trippy artwork from Tool’s Adam Jones. Whilst their inclusions are welcome and contributions entirely merit-worthy, they really act as virtue signals and bridgeheads to the exploration of a multi-layered and often enthralling proposition.

    There are certainly Floydian influences abounding across this record, but one can also discern aspects of late-period Radiohead, Marillion and, perhaps inevitably, the Alma Mata’s of the band themselves. The atmospheric rock sensibility of ‘Kneel To Nothing’, the brooding ‘Black Blooms’ and the two-part ‘Some Other Rainbow’ are notable highlights in a multi-layered and multi-dimensional album that crams ideas, nuance, and elan across its thirty-nine welcome minutes.

    It is testimony to the artists, their musical integrity and their sense of collective mission, that they have crafted a record that respects their past but fashions a future that is equal parts compelling and bewitching. As you might expect, this is not the sort of record that you can put on for a trifling distraction into your morning commute (believe me, I’ve tried). It’s the kind of record that has so many ideas bidding for attention that the best thing you can do is submit to its beck and call and let its craft and magic work its way into your cerebellum. It will stay there.

    7 / 10



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