Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!" by Orchid - Serioius Review

Originally written on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So we're here for the third installment of me babbling inanely about stuff that I have neither the experience, nor the work ethic to do well.

First thing I should mention is that this is One of my favorite albums...but I know damn well most people are not going to like it, and it all comes down to the genre. It's screamo. And I mean actual, legitimately-belongs-in-that-category Screamo, not post-hardcore or metalcore that people mistake as screamo "because it haz screaming in it so it's totally screamo" stuff that gets put under that title. This album, and Screamo in general is harse, raw, fast, and often-times very short with the songs, and fans of more palatable types of music will not enjoy. It's a niche sound, is what I'm saying.

So with that warning, we proceed into Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!

Track 1: Destination: Blood!
I'll be the first to admit this is a cheesy as hell title for the song, but I've heard far worse from bands that don't have the talent to back it up, so I usually ignore it. I won't be analyzing the lyrics on this one because...well, they're nearly indiscernible even with a sheet of the lyrics in front of you. I'm used to harsh vocals, and so occasionally I can get something out, but not enough to do anything in depth, and the lyrics really don't matter much anyway. The first song is quick, though nowhere near the shortest track on the album, and it's a pretty good summation of what Orchid sounds like. The vocals are harsh, the guitar is distorted, the drums are fast, and while there's enough melody to keep it from sounding like just one long breakdown, it's not exactly a building epic song. Jayson Green does a great job incorporating emotion into his screams without making himself sound whiny.

Track 2: To Praise Prosthesis
This is a VERY short song, barely passing the half-minute mark, and it is essentially a microcosm of what Orchid goes for. It's quick, meloncholic, chaotic, and yet somehow they still manage to get some rhythm into it. It demonstrates that while Orchid is chaotic with their song structure and sound, there's a method to the madness.

Track 3: Lights Out
This is the first instance on the album of clean Vocals from Green, and it demonstrates that he's a perfect fit for the album. Everything about the song is raw and powerful even though things are slowed down considerably from before. Clocking in a 2:12, this is the 3rd longest song on the album (Yes, you read that right. 70% of the tracks on Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! are under 2 minutes. Yet it's still longer than their first album Chaos Is Me) and it makes a good job of it, with a slow building intro and a thunderous, bass-driven melody.

Track 4: Anna Karina
I have trouble even calling this a song. It's pretty much just a 15-second sound byte that sounds almost like a continuation of Lights Out. It literally took longer to right this sentence than it did to listen to this song. And yet I love it. The best (and least-professional) way I can describe it is if you took a regular Orchid song and condensed the whole thing akin to the Two-minute Death Magnetic video on youtube. I've literally listened to it more than a dozen times while typing this, and that should leave me feeling pissed, but instead I actually feel satisfied by it. Hell if I know how they pulled that off.

Track 5: I Am Nietzche
This is the second longest track on the album, and it doesn't break the 3 minute mark (See, I wasn't lying when I said it was quick.) and it's the first Orchid song I listened to . There's a 44 second guitar intro that sets the whole shebang up, and then it crescendos into Green proudly proclaiming "I am Nietche!" with the kind of vocal intensity that I've rarely found elsewhere. And I don't mean "intensity" as in it's loud or harsh, I mean that you can practically feel the emotion dripping from his tongue (woah, that's a weird image that will NEVER LEAVE YOU PSYCHE)

Track 6: Victory Is Ours
And we're back to the short songs again with another track that only lasts about 50 seconds, but it's a good bit of power behind it. I can't say it's a great song, nor is it a good follow up to how I Am Nietzche ended, but if you enjoy the songs preceding it, you'll enjoy this one.

Track 7: Don't Rat Out Your Friends
I am completely convinced that the song title was made specifically to be repeating in the listener's head when they are listening to the opening Guitar. Why? Because IT FITS PERFECTLY. This is the things that sticks in my head the most, in that they're actually putting lyrics into a songs without even speaking them, which is pretty interesting. This is another song that's Whatevertheauibleequivalentofblinkingis-and-you'll-miss-it song, but the intro has been stuck in my head since I first heard it, so they're doing something right.

Track 8: Black Hills
This track is kind of forgettable. It's pretty much more of the same, and there's not anything (apart from a riff in the middle third that is of some interest) to really comment on. The biggest I'm having with reviewing this album is that, while each song contributes something to the album as a whole, the songs are so short and minimalist that it's difficult to write a lot about them. Still, it's a short song and if you've listened to the album thus far, it's still something to enjoy.

Track 9: Show Delay At The Frankfurt School
Yeah, I don't know what the title is supposed to mean either. This is a strangely slow song, that really feels like it's more building towards the Final track than anything, kind of akin to a prologue. It's still notable in that it's go almost no vocals until the last 20 seconds of the song (Though really, that's still nearly a third of it).

Track 10 ...And The Cat Turned To Smoke
This is the last, and longest track. It seems to be tradition Orchid had to end their albums with a song easily and measurably longer than the rest of the album. Hell, this song alone takes up nearly a third of the whole thing. But much more notable is the way the song build. Over the last few tracks, the band demonstrated that they could start off slow and still deliver a powerful song, and this is the Opus of it. Whenever I listen to this track I can't help but imagine some slow-motion fight to the death all awash in gray-tone and ramping effects. It's my favorite song on the album, and it closes with a hauntingly powerful fade-out (This coming from somebody who's usually disconcerted by fade-outs in songs) and I suggest to anyone who's willing to listen to Screamo to try this song out first.

Overall, this is a great album if you're into the aesthetic. It's not perfect, and it's definitely missing some refinement, but if you don't mind a bit of unorthodox song structure and sound, I recommend it.

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