Interview: ORCA [Philippines] Contemplate the Afterlife, Regional Metal Recommendations, and Pop / Prog Metal Inspiration on “11th Hour”

Manila-based metal act ORCA released their album titled The Invitation in 2022, followed by singles “Sunset Limited” and “UNSLF.” In the wake of their latest progressive and melodic leaning track “11th Hour,” we spoke to the full four-piece about metallic influences and the Filipino metal scene. Interview below:

ORCA just unveiled the stellar new single “11th Hour,” which is a superb showcase of dynamic, modern metalcore alike Spiritbox, Erra, or Termina. What metal bands were you listening to the most during the writing / recording sessions for this track?

Kiko (guitar): We listened to a lot of radio pop songs and some tracks from The Contortionist during our writing session for this song. In terms of the vision for the instruments in our song “11th hour,” we wanted to write something that sounded different from what we are accustomed to. We want the song to have a more uplifting and hopeful vibe than our other tracks; not a lot of open zero notes on this one.

Zoren (vocals): I don’t really listen to any metal songs / bands when I am writing songs. When I write and record my clean melodies for a certain part of a song I tap into my own instincts and figure out what will fit into the whole picture and storytelling.

Ar. Gelo (drums): My most played metal bands at that time were Northlane, Auras, and Cold Bones.

The opening lyric of the new single states: “A wall between me and heaven / a welcome banner from hell / but I am never weary of what it holds for me / or what it could have been.” If you could visit the afterlife (Heaven or Hell) for 24 hours, who would you wish to see and speak to?

Kiko: If I could visit the afterlife for 24 hours, I would like to see my late dog, Yogi, and play with him for 24 hours.

Zoren: My dad.

Zyme (guitar): My grandma to tell her a few of my educational achievements. She died before I graduated and thought I didn’t take my studies seriously.

Ar. Gelo: Kobe Bryant for inspiration; then maybe Chester Bennington too.

Metal Has No Borders has previously featured other Philippines-based acts including Unhallowed Promethean, Sagrado, Tormented Brutality, Fatal Castration, and Redeemed by the Blood. Have you ever met, shared the stage, or had any interactions with these groups?

Kiko: We’ve shared the stage thrice with Redeemed by the Blood: during our Championships in the 2019 Tribal Bandidos, and 2022 & 2023 Wacken Metal Battle Philippines.

What other Filipino metal bands would you recommend?

Kiko: Lostthreads, Similar//Intents, Astra, Eidolon, Shvriken, and Rebuild.

Zoren: Faspitch and Lostthreads.

Zyme: Lostthreads and Similar//Intents.

Ar. Gelo: You better check out Lostthreads and Similar Intents, also the bands Rebuild and Astra.

What is next for ORCA?

Kiko: More singles, and collaborations with other artists as well; we will be doing international shows very soon.

Zoren: More singles, music videos, and international shows.

Zyme: A new album, more singles, DIY shows, and an international tour.

Ar. Gelo: More singles, definitely more singles to come soon. A few local shows, yes. We’re really eyeing to have some international shows. And right now, spreading our music through different streaming platforms is one of the steps to reach that goal.

“Endless gratitude and love to Metal Has No Borders! Thank you for featuring up and coming bands like us. In a very competitive and oversaturated metal scene, it’s an honor to be included in your site. Thank you for all you do!” – ORCA

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