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Ortega album review – Sacred States

Psych/sludge nirvana dredged up from the Netherlands by Ortega. Read our album review here...

Released nigh-on seven years ago, Ortega’s debut album, 1634, saw the the Dutch band take the glacial sludge sound in an exhilarating new direction, spacing out their crushing riffs with interludes of mesmerising grooves and prismatic experimentalism.

With Sacred States, Ortega expand that starry-eyed vision with nearly an hour of riff-powered voyaging across six wholly ambitious tracks, not least Crows, a transfixing, 18-minute headtrip that unfurls from a bluesy, psychedelic hymn into an eruption of hooks so big that the song should be played from the top of a mountain. Offsetting the album’s primal heaviness with flourishes of luxuriant atmospherics and soulful melodies, tracks like Descending Ladders and Maelstrom showcase Ortega’s appetite for innovation and their mastery of using shifting tempos and gigantic climaxes to invest these tracks with a fiendishly skewed sense of time and space. Required listening for any sludge or psych-metal enthusiast.