Though Orblivion was recorded in May 1996, it was not released until almost a year later, due to Island Records' desire to promote it as a follow up to U2's techno-rock album Pop.Orblivion sold very well in Europe as well as the United States, where it reached the Billboard Top 200. The first Orblivion single, "Toxygene", was the highest charting single by The Orb, reaching #4 in the UK on 8 February 1997. Despite high sales, Orblivion received a lukewarm reception from UK critics. Similarly to the case of Orbus Terrarum, Orblivion received better praise from American critics, including Rolling Stone who called it a "scintillating contrast of chaos and euphony". To support the album, The Orb embarked on the Organic Tour with Orbital, Meat Beat Manifesto, Underworld, Zion Train, and The Chemical Brothers. The Village Voice described The Orb as "on its way down" and the stresses of touring sat heavily on Paterson, but The Orb decided not to "pack it in" and instead continued touring and producing. The Orb then released the second Orblivion single, "Asylum".
Orblivion features many samples, including "72" from which features a clip from Hair proclaiming "the youth of America on LSD!". The track "S.A.L.T." is based on samples taken from Mike Leigh's film Naked, which features rantings from the main character's apocalyptic preaching.
^Spin (5/97, pp.111-112) - 8 (out of 10) - "...combines wry apocalyptic signifying with a headful of refracted rhythms. It also takes Alex Paterson back to his dance-music roots....If the Chemical Brothers are the miscengenated spawn of DJ Kool Herc and the Ramones, Paterson owes his debt to Grandmaster Flash and electropop pioneers Perrey-Kingsley..."