Review Summary: Releasing what’s arguably the greatest release from their far-too-short career, Orchid has managed to make not only a milestone in their career but a milestone in true screamo music in its whole.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
I don’t understand the artwork for Orchid’s, what... third (and final) album?; nor do I want to, being that, as indescribably ominous as it is, it fits their music in a... humorous sort of way, if that makes any sense. Featuring what appears to be a woman with an afro over top of an arguably beige background, the simplistic yet equally enigmatic band name “Orchid” being emitted from her pursed lips in a sky-esque blue font; it encompasses what makes Orchid... well, Orchid--oft-humorous song titles (or at least goofy in reasonable contrast) with an underlying sense of seriousness both lyrically and aesthetically--if again, that makes any sense. I like to consider myself a purist, as obstinately elitist as that sounds--to me, grindcore and hardcore do not consist of fringe haircuts and a barrage of out of place breakdowns, nor does screamo appeal to me as washed up pop punk in a tight-clothed whiny visage of an out of place boy band with the occasional screaming of angst-ridden lyrics indirectly aimed at women in overlying misogynistic tones or bad attempts at self pity. Screamo is an unfortunately dying scene.
And then, amidst ***ty pop punk, we have Orchid, the grits and gravy of the genre.
Orchid is an Amherst, Massachusetts-based screamo band in the traditional sense of this oft-tossed around genre--dissonant, unsympathetic music with a particularly-in-this-case hardcore punk aesthetic with poetic lyrics (of particular note are the lyrics--even if you don’t enjoy the music, I HIGHLY suggest that you look into the lyrics, as they’re poetic mastery) and an overall sense of chaos and a whirlpool of emotions portrayed flawlessly through this release, which, to me, is possibly their best, as they coalesce everything that made Orchid... well, again, Orchid, into a flagrant whole--while it is not without its flaws (as with any album), and as Orchid suffers from repetition issues, they still managed to release what is possibly their most coherent release to date, even beating the classics that are Chaos is Me and Dance Tonight, Revolution Tomorrow! arguably, of course. While the previous albums were indeed classics, they were somewhat unpolished--Gatefold, to me, is them finding their signature sound which has always been there and running like hell with it into the depths of a screamo wonderland.
There a quite a few notable tracks, of which include both Amherst Pandemonium parts 1 and 2, Anais Nin By Numbers, Class Pictures, Dissidents in Love, We Love Prison, and the ambient closer Impersonating Martin Rev, among others which aren’t quite of as notable but are still great songs in their own sense. The aforementioned songs contain the dissonant, cacophonous signature Orchid sound that we all (hopefully) know and love, and combines them into a beautiful sound--in a jarring sense of the word, indubitably.
That’s not to say that the album isn’t without its faults--though there aren’t many, some of the impact gets lost in translation in simply the consistency of the record, because, as previously stated, it’s quite repetitious. Over and over Orchid combines their strident, inharmonious mastery, which isn’t a bad thing, but it is quite a bit to stomach at one point, though this is easily solved by listening to individual tracks--even though as a rule of thumb an album should not need to be listened to in sections; it’s just that Orchid has always had a problem with flowing in their musical endeavors.
All in all, Orchid managed to release what’s possibly their best album--of note are the vocals which fit the music PERFECTLY, alternating between chaotic screams and something of a throaty, clean shout, the instruments are unquestionably superb and the screamo dissonance and mastery is at its indubitable finest as it all coalesces into a beautifully harsh whole. Releasing what’s arguably the greatest release from their far-too-short career, Orchid has managed to make not only a milestone in their career but a milestone in true screamo music in its whole.