All This World Means



by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
December 18th, 2012 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Orion concede too much to a vocal presence and, in doing so, lose a sharp edge they once held in a crowded metal underground.

It's sad to say, but the Orion of All This World Means can only marginally be considered the same band that released the refreshingly ambient-yet-heavy EP Where Whales Go To Die last year. There are still breakthrough instrumental moments where it's apparent that this is the same group, but the addition of vocalists Tyler Houghton and Nathan Hayes has very obviously shifted the dynamic of the group towards a much more mainstream djent approach. The talent is still bold enough to merit consideration, but the paradigm shift towards more conventional structures with a focus on low-end can easily leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who were salivating for more of the sound heard on Where Whales Go To Die.

Once a solitary butterfly presenting a subtler approach to the architecture of bombast and groove by interlacing it with ambiance and mid-range melody, it feels as if the addition of vocals has cheapened the sound. In lieu of breaks for slow acoustic chimes to coalesce over long, low waves of bass, we're greeted by a mix of common deathcore screams over uptempo syncopated rhythms. While these rhythms, varied and scattered, felt like a welcome respite on the previous album, the monotone forefront growl of Hayes on All This World Means seems to roll over and consume the creativity that was once contained therein. Houghton's performance, on the other hand, is more difficult to decry. His high, atmospheric vocals (most comparable to those of Dan Tompkins) seem to provide a keen ambient element that enhances the music, or at least does no harm to it.

Of course, the real issue isn't so much that the vocal performances are bad. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with even the screaming performance on this album, except that it sounds just like the performance on any any other djent release this year with screamed vocals. The real issue is that a band who were once hard to compare with any other band in the realm of djent, progressive metal, or post metal - a band who had meticulously crafted an innovative release - have allowed themselves to lose that edge so that they could conform around vocalists and, in doing so, have become "just another djent band."

On the upside, when the prominent guitar hooks come around (see the beginning of "Epiphany"), they still have a bit of the same charm Where Whales Go To Die had, and many of the deep, rhythmic grooves are still mosh-worthy, if moderately less intelligent in design. Instrumental tracks like "Contours" (which borrows its most intriguing lead line from predecessor "Surface"), "Relatively Minor," and "Futurorum" display some extended flashes of why Orion once seemed a stand-out among those seeking to rejuvenate the low Metal sound. But even there, much of the post-rock flair that gave Where Whales Go To Die its character is long gone, a seeming sacrifice to the gods of vocally structured music.

If you're a real die-hard for fairly well-executed djent with some glints of something more, All This World Means is probably enough for you. But if you've heard the way this group's potential was directed before changing things to account for vocals, it's hard to be anything but frustrated and disappointed with this record. Orion are better than this barely above-average outing. It's as pure and simple as that.

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user ratings (6)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 18th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

Another disappointing 2012 release.

3 only for the instrumental tracks and the intro to "Epiphany." It's sad. I really love the EP.

Digging: Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly

December 18th 2012


Didn't know Mordecai was a nazi

December 18th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0


Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2012


Good review, man. Haven't heard this though. POS'd.

December 19th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Hernan.

Check out the EP at http://orionband.bandcamp.com/album/where-whales-go-to-die

The full-length is online at http://roguerecordsamerica.bandcamp.com/album/orion-all-this-world-means

I don't know why a Manchester band is on a label called "Rogue Records America," but whatever.

December 19th 2012


awesome band name

May 16th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

From what I've heard from this album, the review is on point. I really liked the instrumental but they ruin it with the vocals. Honestly, the singer isn't really that great either. Shit, if they actually picked up Tompkins for this I would have probably enjoyed it more cuz this guy they have sounds a little too post-hardcore and doesn't seem to fit the style. It feels like he would do better in a forgettable metalcore clone band. There was so much potential in their EP. This bums me out

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