Like a trip to the dentist without that minty fresh feeling, Orthrelm leaves you aching, reeling and confused. The experimental rock of D.C.-based guitarist Mick Barr and drummer Josh Blair translates the minimalist approaches of twentieth-century avant-garde composers such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Philip Glass into the context of rock instrumentation and melds it with the frenetic insanity of early Napalm Death. Orthrelm produces repetitive, raucous compositions of relentlessly difficult listening. Where the act's 2002 album, Asristir Vieldriox, crammed 99 compositions into less than thirteen minutes, last year's OV was comprised of a single 45-minute track. Gleefully embracing repeated guitar and drum figures, OV sounds like a skipping CD for minutes at a time before a slight variation reminds you that real people created this physically and psychologically demanding aural torture. Yes, it's painful -- and not in that "no pain, no gain" kind of way. There's no reward after enduring an Orthrelm performance, because that's not the point. The pain, aggravation and tinnitus are what this athletic duo is all about.
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