Epilogue of a Car Crash: A Tribute to Orchid! is a fairly new release from Dog Knights, an independent label based in Brighton in the south of the UK. They generally deal with stuff that falls under the screamo bracket, so a release like this really makes sense for them; a tribute to the seminal hardcore band Orchid who along with Portraits of Past, were probably one of the most important bands in developing the sound of screamo as we know it today.
Orchid played an abrasive and more chaotic take on the original sound of emo that developed in the 80s. Their sound was highly technical at times, heavily utilizing grindcore drumming, extremely fast swing beats, blood-curdling screams and screeching octave chords. They released two albums and an EP of sorts, as well as a multitude of great splits. All of their releases are worth hearing, and I would only recommend this tribute album to die hard fans.
There are 25 tracks in total covered by 24 bands (Sed Non Satiata have two tracks on the record), so there's certainly value for one's money, and this record is definitely a great way to gain insight into the current bands playing this form of music, both new and old, popular and completely unknown. Upon looking at the track listing it appears that the tracks are in chronological order, running from Orchid's first releases to their very last that appeared on their final LP, titled by the fans simply as "Gatefold."
As an overall listening experience, this record is definitely a lot of fun. It's obvious that the majority of the bands were in it to enjoy themselves rather than make any kind of statement about the band. Tracks from the likes of Cassus, Republic of Dreams, Lord Snow and Adobe Homes really show what the sound of screamo is all about. The problem is that most of these bands don't go anywhere with their covers, and more often than not the tracks are just lesser versions of the originals. Orchid's music was very technical and where some of the bands completely nail it, others don't get it right.
The other problem is the lack of personality some of the bands display; only a few try to put their own spin of the tracks with bands like Sed Non Satiata and Foxes giving a post-rock flavour to their covers and Questionable Youth really giving "New Ideas In Mathematics" a serious re-working.
It's a shame really, because who wants to hear screamo bands covering other screamo bands who were better than them? You might as well just listen to the originals and be done with it. That said, this is a fun to put on rotation every now and again but I can't imagine ever picking this over the actual records.
The reality is that these bands should have stuck to breaking these songs out live where they would make a lot more sense but on the flip side, all the bands probably had a lot of fun doing their respective covers and more power to them for doing it, it's just a shame that the majority of the release suffers from a lack of creativity as well as poor production.
Bands like Full Of Hell really let themselves down by recording their cover so shoddily, especially when I expected so much of them being a band as good as they are. Bands like Piano Bastards and I Don't Want To Know Why The Caged Bird Sings also suffer from a lack of comprehensibility in the recording.
Overall, it just seems like this release was a little bit pointless and in retrospect, I really did enjoy some of the tracks but generally it just reminded me how much I love the actual band, and then I just started listening to the actual records and will probably never listen to this ever again. That said I suppose it was just a bit of fun really and maybe I'm just a dickhead for giving it such a harsh critique.
Based on the overarching quality, the bands should have just stuck the tracks up for free download rather than having such a full-on release for something that never should have been taken so seriously.