Hands of Orlac – Hebetudo Mentis Review

Hands of Orlac were born in 2009 from the mind of The Sorceress (vocals/flute) and The Templar (bass). The creation of the band was lead by horror themes, heavy doom and what lies beyond the visible in the tradition of Dark Sound with inevitable shades of RockProgressivoItaliano. After the self produced demo 2010’s “Vengeance From The Grave,” the band began a fellowship with Horror Records to release the first s/t album in 2011, followed by a 7” split with Sodomizer.

“Hebetudo Mentis” means “Dizziness of Mind” in Latin. It’s an album drenched of sourcery elements that are spread to the music. The dark here means the occult. The band comes from a long tradition of bands as Coven with the same 1970’s driven music though the slant for 1980’s Metal. Its concept comes from the 1970s with an early 1980’s Metal music with a lot of elements of Prog Rock. My guess is that the band’s songwriting is Prog Rock oriented and later on while giving the final touches the band goes adding the elements they wish to give them a more Doom Metal sense. From where I’m standing, their music construction is based on Prog Rock with the elements of the dark and the occult plus some psychedelic and heavy guitars. By the way, I guess the guitars are supposed to be Metal oriented, so, isolated they sound pretty Metal but the other elements outrank them leading to a Prog Rock sonancy. The Sorceress’ vocals are the responsable for changing the game to Prog Rock. Her voice fits much better under a Prog Rock umbrella than Metal’s. The beginning of “Il Velo Insanguinato” tells this tale with the chorus drenched guitar which turns into some Uriah Heep built. I guess there is a lot of Uriah Heep in Hands of Orlac’s music but with a female singer. This theory explains a lot. It’s worth mentioning that Uriah Heep used horror elements in their albums as well. The same as the Prog Rock elements which in their case were brought by the keyboards.

Truth is Doom Metal here in the album is a state of mind. It’s in the intent, not in the music. It’s the imagery and iconography of Hands of Orlac that bring doom to the album, not the music. I stay much more comfortable accepting this is Uriah Heep with a female singer.

P.S.: A curious fact about the name of the name. “Hands of Orlac” is an Austrian 1924 horror movie which had two remakes known as 1935’s “Mad Love,” and 1960’s “The Hands of Orlac.” The film is loosely based on “Les Mains d’Orlac”, a novel by Maurice Renard.

Hands of Orlac “Hebetudo Mentis” will be released on September 08th via Terror From Hell Records.

Track Listing:

  1. To the Night a Bride
  2. Three Eyes
  3. Il Velo Insanguinato
  4. Hebetudo Mentis
  5. Malenka
  6. Frostbite
  7. Ex Officio Domini (The Executioner of Rome)

Watch “Frostbite” official lyric video here: