Everything Is Pared Down. Minimal Expectations is the Norwegian-Italian trio Organ:‘s third release, nine years after their 2009 self-titled EP. This album has taunted me for so long, sitting there as a pre-order on Duplicate Records’ Bandcamp page without any official release date… And then, without warning, it came out! Well, to be exact, the album became streamable in full, while the official release date was set to October 30. Let’s see what this beast is made of.
Save for the blast beats and clashing notes, everything reeks of retro prog: the guitar and bass’ sounds, the mix, even the vocals—when they do appear, sporadically—reek of Italian prog. Oh, of course the flutes and synthesizers also do remind one of the bygone era. This release is problematic for categorizers—I highly enjoy it myself, but can see the struggle some may face—with its ambivalent nature. It’s quite easy to see it as a progressive rock band, but it’s also equally valid to see Organ: as a black metal band that went the opposite way. With the band’s previous catalogue, we can see that it seems indeed to be a black metal gone psychedelic, as their debut, Apoplexy in Six Parts sounds like a pioneer Deafheaven, whereas Everything Is Pared Down. Minimal Expectations sounds like prog gone black (not the other way around).
In forty-five minutes, Organ: try a new sound, a new approach for their obsidian psychedelia. The record is not without its faults, for as enjoyable as some parts are, and refreshing for the two worlds of prog rock and black metal, I feel that the novelty wears off too soon. Perhaps only sparse vocal guests and speech excerpts wasn’t enough to populate such a vast and fertile valley. Nevertheless, Organ:’s latest is unquestionably deserving of a listen or two. Give it a chance and see: it’s a good album.