An overlooked gem from earlier this year is the third offering from Spanish power metal six piece Orion Child; Continuum Fracture. A defining space epic, the album is a diverse effort that delves both into extremes and well trodden familiars of the power metal genre. Certainly it isn’t an album that will go down in history, but well one that any power metal fan should give a spin because there is some pretty interesting stuff going on. The album is built fairly similar to its predecessor Into the Deepest Bane of Hope (2016), with a collection of diverse, well written power metal anthems rounded out with shorter interludes and driving toward a central climax, and it manages to fully grasp the attention through magnetic opener The Arrival Gate, then take plenty of unexpected twists through gritty guitars, toxic steel riffing and massive rhythm play.
Orion Child have been doing a dual vocal approach since the first album, and right now it just adds more fuel to the fire, coming across even better now than on the previous albums. Blending harsh and clean vocals - Víctor Hernández and Oier 'Jones' Calvo respectively - to differentiate the storylines and themes - good vs evil; us vs them - the album succeeds with the approach where many other power metal bands that try the same fail. The harsh vocals aren’t just tossed in for the sake of having harsh vocals, but add gravity and depth where they are present, and are generally well incorporated in the thematics as well. The songwriting is concise and consistent, with ample focus on the driving guitars and the weight of the dual vocals approach, with the choruses being the big focal points - as the genre so often demands - bringing both catchy sing-alongs like Sons of the Sea and the The Hatred of My Race which just suddenly transforms into a catchy as hell semi Basque tune come the chorus, and it brings a burst of energy to the dark feel, turning the song from a fleshy power metal track to a piece of venomous fire from all the band members that really sticks out.
Then you’ve got melodic gut punches in Nuclear Horizons that brings a little speed, and The Oath of the Enemies flashing one of the cheesiest – and thereby I love it – choruses on the album. Unfortunately, the downside is that the closing quarter of the album is decidedly less interesting than the first 40 minutes. It follows much of the same pattern as the rest of the album, and there’s definitely some melodic weight and pompous drum patterns especially in Fight Beyond the Bane (hell, those first 80 seconds are stellar starfire!), but it’s just not enough to hold up to the standards of the rest of the album. That really shouldn’t hold anyone back from giving Continuum Fracture a spin or several, because Orion Child showcases some impressive dark and brooding power metal that knows when to be cheesy and when to be serious. The album is far from perfect, but it’s definitely one that’s gone underappreciated so far. Maybe it’s Hernández’s accent?
Standout tracks: The Arrival Gate, The Hatred of My Race, The Oath of the Enemies