Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a long way from the humble halls of the Sleeping Village, but, much like the plague that riddles our haggard inhabitants, proggy melodeath knows no borders. In that spirit, we’re breaking out the latest single from Yogyakarta’s own Goddess of Fate. “The Orchard Gardener” represents a tidy breakdown of composition: in the band’s words, “this single is 50% progressive metal and 50% ‘everything else.’” And I’ll be damned, that somehow isn’t mere hyperbole. While the blend may not appear entirely seamless, Goddess of Fate rip it up with a meaty conglomerate of blastbeats, melodeath riffing, tech shredding, acoustic-backed chanting, harsh screams, and (prerequisite) proggy passages. A distinctly jig-esque riff forms the bookends, lending the 7-and-a-half-minutes an epic quality that stretches across the entirety.
“The Orchard Gardener” plumbs the depths of prog, but refrains from dipping toes into the murkier depths of possibility. In other words, this track never gets too wacky or wanky, and for prog and melodeath--two genres that tend towards the self-masturbatory end of the spectrum, if e’er there were--that’s no small praise. Everything herein feels contained and purposeful. The percussion is particularly tight, and while the song shifts and melds, it is Revanda Verdian’s prowess at the kit that keeps everything as even-keeled as can be. Regarding the low end, the glorious heft of the bass gives the proggy leads a strong foundation on which to stand. It’s always excellent to see bands experiment beyond the bounds of the guitar, and in this arena, Goddess of Fate appear quite accomplished.
Of particular note is the presentation: here, we are privy to both the standard and instrumental version of the track in question. In an odd twist, the inclusion of the instrumental track reveals the vocals to be...fairly inessential. The intriguing elements that do exist--bluesy soloing, ambient space, frenetic tempo changes--all succeed on their own remarkably well. The result is a track that feels whole, rather than simply something that would benefit from vocals. Given an option between two “The Orchard Gardeners,” I find myself preferring the instrumental version. While that may be a slight towards the vocals, which occasionally fall below the level of execution I expected from the forefront, it is an absolute compliment to the strength and dynamism of the instrumentation.
This single isn’t Goddess of Fate’s first foray--previously released material includes a 2012 EP (A Reversal of Civilization) and a 2018 debut LP (Spiral Orchard Pt. 1). While great singles tend to push me in a forwardly direction, keeping groggy eyes on the horizon for a forthcoming effort, "The Orchard Gardener" has me trawling through the past, digging up material that was missed but deserves some time in rotation. That alone is an endearing quality. In sum: “The Orchard Gardener” (and the instrumental version in particular) comes recommended!
Goddess of Fate - "The Orchard Gardener" will be released on Oct. 26th.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.