Orchid
Chaos is Me


4.0
excellent

Review

by Elijah K. STAFF
October 10th, 2010 | 968 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let the record play. Let the record play. Reworking my reality. Transcending practicality. Let the record play....

Seminal emotional hardcore band, Orchid, were known for their arresting intensity, and conspicuous passion. Years later their influence still permeates the genre, living on even in today's screamo/hardcore scene. How, might you ask? How could such an obscure band, whose lifespan only lasted half a decade, create such an impact? Well, to put it simply, Orchid had "it."

This "it" factor so to speak was the amalgamation of passion and perfection. The brazen intensity mixed with the apparent love of what they were accomplishing propelled Orchid to their legendary status. Few bands can truly ever achieve this sentiment, but Orchid certainly did, and it only took one release. Everything that Orchid was, both physical and metaphorical, can be heard through their music, And that is simply why they have been held in such high regards over the years. It's a special thing when one can completely understand a band by simply listening, and "Chaos Is Me" is the musical personification of Orchid.

With a superficial listen, "Chaos Is Me" may come off as cacophonous, abrasive noise. The indecipherable screams are met with a some very heavy and distorted guitar work. And the drums completely kill as Jeff Salane seemingly looses all sanity. However, this all sounds so incredible because of one man: Kurt Ballou. Ballou is a legend in the music business, and it's not a difficult task to see why. As the guitarist for legendary band Converge, Ballou transcends fame and status, becoming somewhat of an icon. However, not only is he known for his performance prowess, but also what he is able to do in the studio. Ballou has been producing in his Godcity Studio for years, partaking in acts such as Pg. 99, Cave In, and Gospel. Needless to say, the man is prolific. And while the indelible amount of praise he receives is seemingly bloated, Ballou truly deserves his status. Because of him, "Chaos Is Me" sounds raw, edgy, and perfect. Everything sounds so brazenly clear, while at the same time so disgustingly mangled. It's a beautiful thing, and because of this attention to detail, "Chaos Is Me" is me is a complete success.

"Chaos Is Me" is more than the sum of it's parts. The intro to "Le Desordre C'est Moi" is tense. The hit of a woodblock is accompanied by the screeching of strings. Interestingly, this is taken from an orchestral work called "Metastasis" by Iannis Xenakis. This leads into an explosive barrage of guitar and screams that doesn't let up until the song's conclusion. It's moments like these that make the album such a jovial experience. And truly, there are moments like these throughout, thanks to the album's incredible pace. Never for a second do things let up. Even in the more subdued and vulnerable parts, "Chaos Is Me" is still intense. "New Jersey Vs. Valhalla" is a highlight, as it encompasses what makes the album, and Orchid as a whole, so damn impressive. The slower, more instrumental beginning sets a much darker tone, which is only bolstered by Jayson Greene's tormented vocal performance. Greene also happens to be the band's lyricist. His writing seems tortured, while also metaphorical.

On the surface, "Chaos is Me" is perfect. It's angry while at the same time perfectly contained, and truly, it has quite a lot to say. Yet it lacks the variety one would hope. "New Jersey Vs. Valhalla" offers some freshness, but other than that, many of the album's songs sort of run together. A mild gripe, but it keeps the work as a whole from reaching true perfection. Added to that, "Chaos Is Me" is not very accessible. The rough production and incredibly coarse sound can easily turn many people away.

Yet Orchid's time has passed. They've ended up in the sea of influential bands whose time was far too short lived. While many will reap the benefits of their short existence by hearing what they've helped create, most will never truly accept or understand Orchid. A tragic sentiment. But for those who discover "Chaos Is Me" will be treated to a truly legendary, and unforgettable piece of work.



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user ratings (556)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
foreverendeared
October 10th 2010


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! is a lot better imo, but this rules as well

Ire
October 10th 2010


41858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

angry

SlightlyEpic
October 10th 2010


5780 Comments


did this really not have a review up till now? wow.

I think Gatefold is actually my favourite Orchid release though

EyesWideShut
October 10th 2010


3445 Comments


so bloody good. gatefold might be their best, but this is the album the got me into them and the genre.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 10th 2010


6157 Comments


Your chaos ain't me
It's a hat that you put on and I wore it for too long
And I hate to break your little heart,
but chaos definitely ain't you


alachlahol
October 10th 2010


7583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album had a review up until recently. the reviewer may have asked for it to be deleted

foreverendeared
October 10th 2010


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd read them man

Bitchfork
October 11th 2010


7584 Comments


ily

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

SAID YOU MISSED THOSE DAYS

BUT WE DID IT RIGHT, RIGHT?

QUIT THE

HABIT

STARTED

SMOKING AGAIN

Bitchfork
October 11th 2010


7584 Comments


If I was in a car crash I don't think I'd want to extend the story so far as an epilogue.

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All of this means nothing

D.C. made me and the rest of this mess

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

also i dont see how orchid are so influential... the whole scene in the NE post 2000 has taken some of

orchid's sound but gone a different route with it. do failures or pollution really sound that much

like orchid?



also, i would say a lot of the modern day screamo bands have melded with tech/mathcore to create bands

like transistor transistor



the state of hardcore these days consists mainly of PV thowbacks, this new mysterious guy stuff (fad,

but interesting listen), and blackened hardcore.



Jash
October 11th 2010


4245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review brah, pos'd fo sho. I first heard this band when my friend put this and Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow on my iPod and it was all I listened to for days. I hadn't heard any emo/screamo stuff at the time and I was blown away. Even after joining Sputnik and getting really into the genre I still come back to Orchid because you're right, they have "it"

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Great review brah, pos'd fo sho."



oh shit the bros have infiltrated sputnik



IMMEDIATE LOCK DOWN I REPEAT TAKE THE SERVERS OFFLINE

Bitchfork
October 11th 2010


7584 Comments


Kitsch, as you go into bands like Kontrapunkt1 and Tristan Tzara and The Apolplexy Twist and La Quiete and Louise Cyphre and so on and so forth you see the extent of Orchid's influence. I mean bands may have continued the sound and brought it in new directions but bands like The Indian Summer, I Hate Myself, Saetia and Orchid all formed a foundation for it to thrive upon - which entails being influential.

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"The Indian Summer, I Hate Myself, Saetia and Orchid"



all of these bands sound drastically different from one another.



im not saying orchid isnt influential; but are those bands you listed (other than the last two) really that popular in the scene right now? the reviewer said that orchids influence is plain to see in the scene today, but i dont think their influence is as prolific as that.



the thing that orchid often get credit for (although they werent the first) was being one of the screamo bands that pushed the envelope for speeding up the sound. the transition from emo to screamo is really just emo bands playing shit faster. orchid is real fast and now a "staple" screamo band, one that anyone even loosely aware of the genre knows.



Bitchfork
October 11th 2010


7584 Comments


I had a dog avatar?

I was saying that Indian Summer provided influence for IHS which frovided it for Saetia and Orchid took it to a new level that people expanded off. They made a change and others followed. Influence.

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

influence does not work linearly.



each artist contributes to the whole of art.



people are exposed to art. they take selectively from the collective pool, add their twist, create something new, which thru creating, contributes to the whole.



thats why you can have a band like HANL influenced by 80s music

Bitchfork
October 11th 2010


7584 Comments


Yes and since screamo music is an art form a band can influence another band in that "screamo direction" and thereby influence a thread of art.

eternium
October 11th 2010


16352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is chaos.



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