Track By Tracks: ORBITAL EXTREMA - Apsis (2023)

The album as a whole (LYRICALLY & MUSICALLY):

Apsis is our attempt to combine the intensity and technicality of technical death metal with the adventurous nature of progressive metal to create an instrumental metal album that doesn’t rely on the traditional instrumental tropes and song formula (i.e. melodic lead guitar emulating singing over simple backing parts and riffs). The theme of the album is regarding space exploration and the wonders of space. Apsis delivers intensity with purpose, intent, and deliberate choices of harmonies, time signatures, syncopation, and polyphony. Instrumental tech death is a pretty niche genre, but also one that is fairly untapped and unexplored in our opinions. We hope to bring more attention to the genre with our unique take on technical death metal, progressive metal, and instrumental music as a whole.

The theme of the release is space. Most of the song titles are related to topics about space like black holes, exploding stars, etc. I think the music videos help with conceptualizing the theme. Its songs were named in a way that describes the progression of a spacecraft through various events like encountering black holes and exploding stars, experiencing tribulation, and what is perceived as Armageddon.


Apoapsis and Aphelion describe the beginning of the journey for the spacecraft, starting at the furthest point of the orbit of a planet orbiting a star (like the earth orbits the sun). Impending Armageddon is titled as such because it is foreshadowing the many disasters and dangerous events that the spacecraft will encounter on its journey. The spacecraft encounters a blitzar, which is a type of neutron star that can rapidly collapse into a black hole if its rotation slows down. An event horizon is the edge of the black hole from which nothing inside the event horizon can escape the gravitational force of the black hole. The spacecraft sees the event horizon form for the collapsing blitzar as it transitions into a black hole. An exoplanet is a planet that orbits other stars, and in this story the song Exoplanetary Devastation details the destruction of this exoplanet that is orbiting the Blitzar as it collapses into a black hole, completely crushing the exoplanet from the immense gravitational force. The spacecraft then encounters a magnetar* and watches it explode, resulting in a hypernova (which is like a supernova but more intense). What remained of this hypernova explosion is called a plerion (or pulsar wind nebula). Interstellar collision details two stars colliding against one another and then subsequently creating a black hole. The spacecraft encounters this black hole (hence the title singularity**) and escapes the black hole’s gravitational pull, yielding a hyperbolic trajectory. The speed of this spacecraft at this point is called the escape velocity, as it has escaped the influence of the gravitational force of the black hole. The final track title is almost ironic in nature as celestial genesis literally means the beginning of space, stars, planets, etc. and the track comes at the end of a 16-song album thematically based on space exploration.

*A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an immensely strong magnetic field (it’s like a super magnet). If a person were to get within 1000km of one, they would literally evaporate from the effect of the magnetar.

** a singularity is the center of a black hole where matter is compressed to an infinitely tiny point and all concepts of time and space break down and no longer make sense – it’s mostly a theoretical concept.

1. Apoapsis:

An introduction song meant to build excitement toward the beginning of the musical rollercoaster that is ‘Apsis’. It was written to naturally flow directly into “Aphelion”. It is essentially one riff idea done in many variations to emphasize the flowing nature of ‘Apsis’.


The first song that we wrote. It is also a good representation of Orbital Extrema’s style, hitting the listener with technical riffs and blast beats alongside changing time signatures. The song doesn’t technically repeat but many of the sections are variations of ideas presented previously in the song to provide better continuity while exploring more musical ground.

3. Impending Armageddon:

The most traditional tech death song on the album. “Impending Armageddon” is an onslaught of technicality and blast beats, or as Robin Stone likes to call them “Blast Bonks”. The song is unrelenting and never lets off the gas. Dennis Franco makes an appearance via a killer guest guitar solo.


Blitzar has a very bouncy feel but maintains technicality and is quite driving in the riffs and song arrangement. It’s a tech death song with an extremely fast-paced groove. It never really fully lets off the gas but allows just enough room for dynamics to shine through.

5. Event Horizon:

A riff focused, driving, heavy song with bouts of technicality sprinkled throughout. It contains an insanely awesome guest guitar solo from Matias Quiroz of Bleak Flesh.

6. Polymetric Substantiation:

A constantly evolving song exploring the boundaries of technicality in multiple ways. It features one of the only traditional-styled guitar solos on the album and is also one of the only songs on the album with synth featured in multiple parts.

7. Exoplanetary Devastation:

The majority of the song features a very flowing, sliding riff but halfway through the band does its best impression of Star Wars meets tech death. A very fun, adventurous song with variations throughout.

8. Galactic Magnetar:

One of the more dissonant tech death-styled songs on Apsis. Right off the cuff the song starts with blazing guitar riffs and transitions and settles into some headbanging-worthy riffs. It also implements more chromaticism than is typical for Orbital Extrema, but in a tasteful way. One of the more technical songs on the album.

9. Hypernova:

The most intense song of the album. It starts and ends with an ambient style clean tapping section and otherwise is primarily blast beats galore.

10. Plerion:

The guitar parts are very Vektor-inspired in style (technical thrash metal) utilizing sliding pinch harmonics and lots of notes. The drums glue the song together using grooves in a really cool way, especially with the non-linear arrangement over some of the guitar parts. The song also features fast and heavy parts alongside the technicality and groove.

11. Interstellar Collision:

This song is based on guitar parts that slide a lot and repeat with frequent but smooth variations. The second half of the song has a really nice combination of groove, tech death, and black metal all interspersed with each other. I think the drums really bring this song to life and bring cohesion to the arrangement.

12. Singularity:

Debatable is the most straightforward song on the album. Sean Dempsey affectionately refers to the riffs as his best “caveman” riffs. The song has a ton of groove thanks to Robin Stone and Sean Ryan meshing so well.

13. Escape Velocity:

The shortest song on the album excluding the intro song “Apoapsis”. This was the 2nd song Orbital Extrema wrote together and features some interesting sections with unique guitar arrangements in parts.

14. Hyperbolic Trajectory:

This song is quite fast and driving. There are a lot of harmonies and variations of the main themes throughout. It features one of the fastest guitar leads/solos on the album and blast beats are present (as appropriate) throughout the song.


Because of the topic of the song, it is fitting that the riffs are written and structured in a way where they flesh out multiple times and repeat in different intervals. There are parts where a riff will repeat in 3/4 and then 4/4 and then 5/4 all in succession (for example). The song is simple at its heart with a lot of intricacies and variations sprinkled throughout. It is one of the most fun songs to perform off Apsis. It also contains one of the fastest and most difficult guitar solos on the album. It is the only song to originate from a jam session for the album. The jam session comprised of Sean Dempsey, Austin Rolla, and Joseph Howard.

16. Celestial Genesis:

The longest song on the album is also through-composed, boasting many time signature and tempo changes. “Celestial Genesis” boasts the extremes of everything musically that Orbital Extrema does: ambiance, changing tempos, changing time signatures, various groove styles, blast beats, harmonies, and more. “Celestial Genesis” is unabashedly Orbital Extrema.

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