Orchid's Curse

Voices: The Tales Of Broken Men

Written by: PP on 20/12/2010 00:41:09

I mentioned in one of my previous reviews that one by a Nova Scotia band called Orchid's Curse was on its way, and here it is. "Voices: The Tales Of Broken Men" is their brand new album, and it consists of metalcore played strictly by-the-books with few surprises. Melodic, tapped leads, occasional broken clean vocal choruses, growled verses and At The Gates-inspired instrumentation, it's all there. To their credit, however, Orchid's Curse are good in that particular style. Not overly impressive, but solid enough to warrant a few repeat listening sessions before you turn back to your Darkest Hour and All That Remains records.

They are from the heavier end of metalcore bands, so elements of death metal will appear occasionally in the form of serpentine riffs intertwining the melodic ones. Whenever this happens, it's difficult, if not impossible, to escape from a "At The Gates-clone" thought, for so similar are they when placed right beside the legends. Occasionally, the band does deviate a little from the standard high tempo metalcore sound, and this is one of the key strengths of Orchid's Curse. There are passages which lean on progressive hardcore instead of metalcore, where the riffing pauses briefly for some Misery Signals-inspired eerie melodic soundscapes which just sort of float or dwell around the listener nicely, giving a moment of reflection and calm before it's straight back to At The Gates-riffing.

Fact is, whenever the band combines the prog-hardcore intrigue together with the Darkest Hour approach to metalcore (as melodic guitars as possible, basically), they are very good. They can write some solid melodic leads, but it often feels like they are afraid of being dubbed yet another 'metalcore' band if they solely concentrated on these. Because during sections where they mix such an approach with the transitions into prog-hardcore a la Misery Signals, they are excellent. The other passages appear to have been meshed in for brutality's sake, which takes a large chunk of awesome out of their sound.

The other, and perhaps the more significant pitfall of this album is the production. It's far too loose on a couple of tracks, leaving them with a rough resonance and failures in timing/tempo instead of the crystal-clear, tight soundscape that is more or less a requirement in successful metalcore. Overall, I'd say there's good potential in Orchid's Curse, but they just need to learn how to realize that. Drop the death metal influences completely and focus on writing super-tight, melodic, preferably tapped leads, consistently morphing these into the eerie interludes within the songs, and we'd have a much better final product in our hands.

Download: Shadows Of Imitation (Envy), The Delicate Art Of Dying
For the fans of: Darkest Hour, Knights Of The Abyss, The Autumn Offering, Misery Signals
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.09.2010
Diminished Fifth Records

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