By Jason Wellwood
Metalcore is a much maligned genre right now but it’s bands like Orchid’s Curse who are going to survive the ‘I’ve heard this before, booooring’ attitudes of today’s music consumer. Simply put, Voices: The Tales of Broken Men is a huge step forward and progression for the band. It’s obvious that the members of Orchid’s Curse spent time listening to prog-metal and prog-rock in between writing for their first album and this one. Not that they’ve eschewed all of their previous metallic ways, quite the contrary, they’ve embraced and built upon an already solid foundation. Josh Hogan has that ‘barbed-wire-in-the-throat’ roar that makes you wince because you can’t help but think it must hurt to sing like that. On this album that voice turns into a completely emotive instrument and, without becoming soft or quiet, Hogan manages to convey a pantheon of emotion and never lose the listener. Musically, the band has picked up an undeniable groove that will keep the ‘non-moshers’ happy as they’ll be able to nod and do the bent knee bob at the back of the room while the band plays.
Also of note, the band doesn’t play unnecessary parts. One of the obvious issues with adding ‘prog’ into your list of influences is that it seems to give band members free reign to wander aimlessly around inside the song, taking it places that it doesn’t need to go. The guitar work on Voices: The Tales of Broken Men is an obvious step up and beyond, but they know how to keep everything tight and not take it too far off of the main song. I also really like the drum sound on this record; it’s crisp and has a metallic tone to it which makes it sound live but not processed at all. That’s a huge change from other bands who may share rack space with Orchid’s Curse in the ‘Metalcore’ bin.
Orchid’s Curse have created a groovy, swinging album of metallic hardcore that you are going to want to sing and pump you fist along to. They might not be rewriting the book of metalcore but they are definitely setting themselves ahead of the pack.