Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio - 4Play

Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio
Out Of Line

I’ve gathered that some neo-folk folk have been turned off by the slow and slinky slide Thomas Pettersson of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio has made away from the occult themes of the project’s earliest days (before the “Equilibrio” was added) and into more explicitly sexual and sensual territory. I don’t count myself amongst that number.

While the raunchier side of the goth-industrial spectrum has often bored me (I’m not a fan of The Genitorturers or The Electric Hellfire Club, but Die Form got it right), Pettersson and collaborator Rose-Marie Larsen have found a balance between stressing sex’s emotional and spiritual significance, and an appealing tongue in cheek (and probably some other crevices, too! Hey-o!) vibe. Draping neo-folk in the sort of excessive, velvety decadence which is usually pure goth’s terrain makes for a great match for my money, as on 2010’s Songs 4 Hate & Devotion, and so I was keen to hear what was on deck. 4Play is the teaser EP for a forthcoming, as yet untitled LP slated for an April release. I’m not sure which (if any) of these tunes will make it onto the LP, so I’m taking it as advertised: an EP, not a single.

There’s a unified tone and style of instrumentation to all four tracks on the EP, with any one of piano, the aforementioned strings, or vocals taking the melodic reins but all remaining in play at once (along with some traditional neo-folk acoustic strumming, natch). Speaking of vocals, Pettersson has a habit of hushing his booming voice mid syllable to a whisper: it’s a trick he regularly employs, but lends an interesting dynamic to a genre in which vocals are often delivered with stone-faced monotone.

Opener “From Copenhagen With Love” is just the sort of dramatic frieze of sex and history that made Songs 4 Hate work. Buoyed by an excellent string arrangement, it’s like catching Caligula in a moment of sober recollection. A later track, “I AM The Sweetest Of Devils”, bears a striking musical similarity to “Copenhagen”, prompting a bit of déjà vu not forgiving to four-track EPs, but at least the lyrical theme is different (short version: don’t trust women with scissors). “First Death (Every Man Is A Moth To The Flame)” fares better, with a slickly-assembled martial foundation that rises to a wary but evocative chorus and metaphysically-minded lyrics.

4Play certainly merits the attention of those who enjoyed the direction taken by ORE on Songs 4 Hate & Devotion. The more timid may just want to investigate “From Copenhagen With Love” initially to find out if Pettersson and Larsen’s brand of perversion is up their alley. Either way, I’ll be keeping an ear open for the full LP in the coming months; hopefully the absinthe’ll keep ’til then.

Buy it.