Orchid
Chaos is Me


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
October 10th, 2010 | 878 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 (492)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 10th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm an Orchid noob to the extreme, but I could not stand by and let this album not have a review.

It's closer to a 4.25 for me.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

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


41780 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

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 10th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is only my second album by them. Personally I like Gatefold equally, although I will admit is probably "better." I just think this is significantly more badass.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 10th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But I'm definitely going to check out others

EyesWideShut
October 10th 2010


3154 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


Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 10th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm thinking of reviewing all 3 of their LP's. They're a pretty popular band around here, but don't really have many reviews. So, is that something people would be interested in, or would I be wasting my time?

alachlahol
October 10th 2010


7489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

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

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 10th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I figured that much. There's no way this didn't have one at one time.

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


5107 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.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 11th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

WHEN I DIE 1,000 BIRDS WILL FLY OUT OF MY MOUTH!

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All of this means nothing
D.C. made me and the rest of this mess

kitsch
October 11th 2010


5107 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


4244 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"

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 11th 2010


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, I appreciate it.



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