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Orchid - Totality (Cover Artwork)

Orchid

Orchid: TotalityTotality (2005)
Clean Plate

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Orchid is one of the most heralded bands in the screamo genre. Through countless splits, compilations, 7 inches, and a few LPs, Orchid made a name for themselves at the top of their genre. Since their well-publicized breakup, they've split into two bands, Panthers and Wolves, but thankfully for all .
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Orchid is one of the most heralded bands in the screamo genre. Through countless splits, compilations, 7 inches, and a few LPs, Orchid made a name for themselves at the top of their genre. Since their well-publicized breakup, they've split into two bands, Panthers and Wolves, but thankfully for all their fans, Totality is what you've been waiting for: A collection of 24 tracks, spanning their entire, albeit short career, including singles, compilation tracks, splits, rarities, and other random songs, and everything has been remastered for pristine sound quality, while maintaining the raw, frenetic feel the band had always given off.

What really set Orchid apart was their absolute, unrelenting passion for the chaotic brand of hardcore they played. Jagged, discordant riffing, and some of the most ear-splitting vocals around are what Orchid was all about. They weren't the fastest band around, or the hardest by any stretch of the imagination, but the passion in every song is far more captivating than any heavy doom metal riff could ever hope to be.

Every time that I listen to these songs, I'm amazed at how cohesive these band members were with each other, as no matter how frenzied a song would get, the rhythms were tight, the drumming fluid, and the chord progressions slick. For perfect illustration of this, take one listen to "New Ideas in Mathematics," a track that sets the stage perfectly for the visceral onslaught to come. While the pace originally isn't as impressive speed-wise as it is with the groove, the last 30 seconds of the song will absolutely blow your mind. Speed, precision and emotion liable to make your head spin. "Beautification Committee" seems to pick up right where "New Ideas…" left off, with cascading drum fills and the maniacal vocal assault of Jay Green. Green sounds like a man possessed in each and every track, with throat-searing vocals that really light a fire under the rest of his band-mates. What's even more impressive than Orchid's all-out assault, is how they're able to tone things down in certain instances, not losing any momentum, but instead heightening the mood.

"She Has a Cold, Cold Heart" has a beautiful piano outro, just long enough for you to catch your breath until "Eye Gouger," which, even at only 47 seconds, is one of the strongest tracks to be found. The halfway point, "O.S.K.," seems to show a band slowing down in bit in their attack, and being one of Orchid's earliest recorded songs, it doesn't show the developed level of chaos that they had later attained, but it's still just as emotive, and just as passionate as anything else you'll find. No matter the different sound quality or level of noise in the various songs, their emotion is a constant. Whether it's blistering speed, or a band slowing down, Green's vocals are that of a madman, and the discordant riffing suits that just fine.

Totality isn't the best collection of Orchid songs; Chaos Is Me takes that crown, but it is a release that takes a comprehensive look at every facet of the band's stages of songwriting. Orchid always was, and always will be the quintessential screamo band of the late 90s, as they encompassed everything people like me love about the genre, and throw their own unique spin on it. Few, if any bands since their 2002 breakup have managed to capture the sheer level of passion those four men put into music, and songs like "Mono vs. Stereo" exemplify this to a tee. Fury, emotion, intensity, it's all here in spades. Do not pass on this collection, as you're likely to never find a more surreal level of passion in thirty minutes of music ever again.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
RondoMondo (January 1, 2006)

I love this cd. Too bad it's on m y old laptop.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

I sure no one could be THAT serious...or that retarded.

---Trav.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Hey was godfathers comment about orchid not holding a candle to Hawthrone Heights a real comment or just fucking around?

Anchors (December 31, 2005)

They just played their last show last month, but it was a bit far to travel for this guy.

theundergroundscene (December 30, 2005)

i just heard the kodan armada for the first time today

oh MAN

k-dubs (December 30, 2005)

im a sucker for vinyl, it feels like more time and effort was put into making it, and in turn that makes the listening experiance better for me.

Anonymous (December 30, 2005)

I also recommend dowloading the evergreen discography from soulseek....and the potato bites from taco bell.

---Trav.

Anonymous (December 30, 2005)

My 1987 turntable recently shit the bed. So I invested in a numark portable, which is normally used by DJ's. But this fucking thing fits anywhere...it even plays old jazz 78's and it hooked up to my stereo easily.

---Trav.

Scruffy (December 30, 2005)

My feelings are that it's better on whatever it was mixed for.
Pleased To Meet Me is better on vinyl, while The Greatest Story Ever Told sounds better on CD (or, at the very least, no different).

fallingupwards84 (December 30, 2005)

I bought a fully-automatic Sony record player at Circuit City this summer for only 100 bucks... well worth it

i personally prefer the sound of vinyl more than cds.. i rarely ever buy cds anymore

Anonymous (December 30, 2005)

Basically I figure on which format it was intended to be heard on.

Although I pretty much exclusively buy vinyl now. Last time I bought a CD was in September.

Anonymous (December 30, 2005)

It's like the Real real Losers a garage punk rock n roll band from UK appear to record their stuff in total lo-fi and vinyl is good at reproducing those kind of sounds, while a CD probably would digitize it and make it sound "boomy"
I can't imagine them on CD to be honest, it's just not right.
I mean if i'm listening to Zen Arcade by Husker Du i have copies on Vinyl and CD, the recordings husker did were in analogue, you might notice on some of their later CD's it says something like

"The compact Disc Digital Audio system offers the best possible sound reproduction-on a small, convenient disc.Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics."

i think "best possible" being the right word, when i flip on Zen Arcade on vinyl, i'm just blown away, because it was designed for analogue and recorded in analogue. I just don't get the same feeling with Zen Arcade on CD.

Anchors (December 30, 2005)

It's hard to say with any sort of certainty if an album will sound better on CD or Record. There's so many variables that go into it. The overall mastering and recording, first of all, just how well produced the album is. But then you have to figure into it how good your speakers are with either, and with the record player, how the receiver is, if the needle's any good.

On the whole, Vinyl sounds better. If you take Highway 61 Revisited play it through the same speakers on each format, the vinyl will sound better. It really does vary though, that's the best I can do.

Godfather (December 30, 2005)

i've got a record player that's 20 years old and it works fine....quick question though: i know that some records sound better than cds, but i have also heard that some cds sound better depending on how the album was produced....anybody feel like explaining this to me??....if you do, please dumb it down for me a little because i'm mildly retarded

theundergroundscene (December 29, 2005)

that's kinda fucking awesome

Anonymous (December 29, 2005)

Yeah... Actually, for cheap, you can get a pretty cool all-three set up (tape/turntable/CD player) that comes with speaker jacks so that you can make it loud.

I have one, it even plays 78's.

-Will

k-dubs (December 29, 2005)

yeah bro, vinyl has always stayed the same, though for 7" you might need a converter depending on how its made.

theundergroundscene (December 29, 2005)

would a vinyl player from like the 40's or 50's play the vinyl that gets released today?

if so, i could jack the one from my grandma's house

k-dubs (December 29, 2005)

i could really go for a bean chalupa right now.

Anchors (December 29, 2005)

I have about 500 CD's, not counting CDr's, and a good amount of Vinyl. Vinyl undoubtedly sounds and looks miles ahead of CD quality, but the portability factor is really important to me, especially since I have no record player at school. They both have their place, though.

Anonymous (December 29, 2005)

I actually like records more then CD's. I have scratched so many bastard CD's and plus vinyl gets you full artwork.

Oh yeah review some Jr Ewing.

Anchors (December 29, 2005)

Hahaha uh oh.

theundergroundscene (December 29, 2005)

let's stop this before it even starts

Anonymous (December 29, 2005)

Wow... So you DL music that's vinyl-only?

-Will

theundergroundscene (December 29, 2005)

i think only on lp (from what anchors told me) but it's all over soulseek

so, i ultimately downloaded it (or queued it up, damn soulseek), because i don't have a record player

Anonymous (December 29, 2005)

hey is that La Quite album only availible on LP or is their a cd version. If some one could answer that for me that would be much appreciated.

denbez (December 29, 2005)

So, Notes is a great album. And yes, so was My Hereos Have Always Killed Cowboys.

I know, I like more than one style of music. Shocking, right?

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

wow finally an orchid review. cool. i think it would be sweet if there were reviews on: off minor, pg 99, spirit of versailles, the khayembii communique, raein among others.

and yeah, notes was pretty disappointing.

inagreendase (December 28, 2005)

Any other nominations?

Definitely, as it's constantly spelled "definately."

fritobandito (December 28, 2005)

I've yet to actually listen to "Notes," but the feedback I've heard hasn't been positive.

I like it. It's nothing like their debut album, but it's pretty solid musically. Kinda like...post-Fugazi sort of sound, if that makes any sense. I dunno. but it's a good album in my opinion.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

The Bucket Full Of Teeth conection is correct, good band although they steered into grind terriroty rather then screamo territory at that point.

Anchors (December 28, 2005)

Yes Bucket Full Of Teeth is ex-Orchid as well, I just can't remember who the connection is.

City Of Caterpillar and Yaphet Kotto I've already reviewed, but I've been meaning to do something for Spirit Of Versailles for quite some time now, so I think they'll be next on the agenda with La Quiete. Feel free to keep suggestions coming though, I really enjoy writing about this stuff.

ElVaquero (December 28, 2005)

http://www.pastepunk.com/viewcdreview.php?id=1777

Maybe if you don't know how good the band used to be this would sound good.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

bucket full of teeth is ex-orchid, right?

just want to mention them.

try out these gems:
city of caterpillar
saetia
yaphet kotto
iconoclast
spirit of versailles

(and like 4000 more amazing bands)

we need more reviews of this stuff. i second that motion someone had way down there somewhere.

btlmg (December 28, 2005)

yesssss
orchid is amazing

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

I remember Notes getting a damn good review from Pastepunk. Weird.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

i'm going to go with "genius" as another frequently misspelled word.

Anchors (December 28, 2005)

I've yet to actually listen to "Notes," but the feedback I've heard hasn't been positive.

And as far as La Quiete, that's the album I'll likely be reviewing, or possibly their split with Louise Cypher. But right now it's looking like "La Fine.." And you're right, it's an amazing record.

theundergroundscene (December 28, 2005)

anchors, i hated notes...it sounded like a competely different band playing crappy watered-down music..i put it on and was like what? because their debut was pretty solid

which la quiete album? la fine non e la fine? i've only heard two tracks off that one, but they're ridiculous

Godfather (December 28, 2005)

this band doesnt hold a candle to hawthorne heights

score is for them

Anchors (December 28, 2005)

Well I'll be doing a review of Notes in the next week or so, but I think I'll go with your idea of reviewing La Quiete. They don't get nearly enough love in the states.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

My vote for Most Frequently Misspelled Word on pn.org is "ridiculous." Any other nominations?

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

Definitely more reviews. La Quiete need the exposure in America and I'm pretty curious of what you think about A Day In Black And White's indie turn on their debut album.

-el vaq

Anchors (December 28, 2005)

The system works fine if you just remember the odd numbers are the half stars.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

This album score system should be rewritten. 10 is misleading. It should be 1, 1 1/2, 2, 2 1/2, etc.

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

Patso maybe you should stick to counting in roman numerals like everyone else right now, cause I'm only seein' 5 stars dude.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

ten stars for mentioning VLV in a comment.

-patso

killyouridols (December 27, 2005)

screamo is strong in europe better than in the usa nowadays i think.
there's a lot of emoer french bands going on, and a lot of more emo violence oriented bands springing elsewhere.

colin (December 27, 2005)

i definetly prefer chaos is me, but this is fucking fantastic.

fritobandito (December 27, 2005)

one of my favorite bands ever. fucking love 'em.

gladimnotemo (December 27, 2005)

I just bought an Orchid album, but it was a secret santa gift for someone, so I didn't listen to it. I would like to listen to this eventually, though, since the internet hype machine (VLV) namedrops them about once every 30 seconds.

SalsaShark (December 27, 2005)

I feel like such a poser in this review. lol I only recognize one name here, and that's Orchid.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

http://sceneitall.net/screamo.php

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

Anchors, please do a whole load of reviews of screamo bands ESPECIALLY some Ampere! kids really need to know some real screamo right now! Oh yeah review some Funeral Diner.

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

Since people seem to be digging this review, is there anything else in this genre you guys want to see reviewed? Joshua Fit For Battle, Tryanny Of Shaw, La Quiete? Let me know and I'll see what I can do.

ElVaquero (December 27, 2005)

Score is for La Quiete. Their album was fuckin awesome

Fuzzy (December 27, 2005)

It's sad that a lot of kids won't give this the time of day due to the appropriation of the word screamo by poppunk with screams/LIES. Sad.

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

Underground, good call on a lot of those bands you listed. Cowboys were incredible, so were Raein, but both bands have broken up, the latter pretty recently.

I Have Dreams And Kite Flying Society were solid, but I never got into them as much as the others you listed.

La Quiete is easily one of the best bands in Europe right now, and I'd love for them to come to the states.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

REAL screamo, none of this modern bullshit, angry, angry stuff, somtimes bordering on grind!

rkl (December 27, 2005)

woooooooooo screaming emo.
score is for the sabbath track.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

labeling a band screamo immediately makes them dead to me...such crap.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

"screamo" has got to be one of the most bogus and rediculous made-up genre terms ever.

theundergroundscene (December 27, 2005)

this stuff is obviously good, but i've always been a fan of the kinda lesser-known emocore stuff...not the heavyweights like orchid and saetia and city of caterpillar (though they are still awesome)...

but shit like...i have dreams, tunes for bears to dance to, cowboys became folk heroes, kite flying society, la quiete, raein, etc...

i feel like those bands have a better sense of melody than the big guns, which have a more grindy and almost sludgy feel to them

i have dreams' "countless rooftops" could be my favorite emocore song of all time

xmidipunkbastardx (December 27, 2005)

indian summer > everything else.

darkstarm (December 27, 2005)

Anyone here like Indian Summer?

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

Also, check out Life at these speeds...with a release on clean plate/perpetual motion machine. Some of the most amazing stuff I've heard in years.

---Trav.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

1. pg.99
2. Orchid
3. Reversal of man
4. Joshua fit for battle
5. Neil perry
6. Majority rule

and basically these bands have broken up only to form a million others that I could add to this list...I dont have the energy.

Oh yeah, fuck the words "emo" and "screamo" it's fucking punk rock and you know it.

---Trav

ElVaquero (December 27, 2005)

Yeah this band is awesome, review is dead on.

killyouridols (December 27, 2005)

i think their most acessible is gatefold.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

orchid means penis

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

fuck this shit

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

I have never seen that Skull Split with Jerome's Dream go for less than 50 on Ebay.

And Will, I don't think that Orchid as a whole are necessarily more passionate about their music than anyone else, but as with a lot of screamo, it's in the vocals for me. Not just that they're loud and screechy, but it's something I really connect with, like I can just picture the singer passing out while performing because he puts so much into it. It's probably just me, but that's where I'm coming from on that.

Archangel (December 27, 2005)

I have Chaos Is Me/Dance Tonight! and Gatefold, both of which kick immense amounts of ass. This band was at the top when screamo reached its crescendo.

And the lyrics are brilliant. It's so easy to fall into inane name-dropping of dead philosophers, but Orchid was just awesome.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

I don't know why people think this is more emotional or heartfelt than anything else, though... I mean, just because they play in that post-hardcore/artcore way doesn't mean the band themselves are anymore passionate about their music than, you know, all of the other bands that care about their music.

I don't know, that's my only gripe with "screamo"- It's a sound, not really a mindset.

-Will

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

and the skull-shaped split with Jerome's Dream? fuggedaboudit.

the LPs and 10" are pretty widely available, but Totality is a good choice to save time and money to get all the rest.

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

It's the 7"'s that are really hard to find. The LP's less so, but since there was so many 7''s getting a hold of the entire discography gets a bit ridiculous.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

Most of their shit is OOP? I'm pretty sure the LP's are available on Ebullition still.

And, about Philly- maybe. That's a long ways away, though.

-Will

Anchors (December 27, 2005)

I without fail, always forget about Ampere's Orchid connection. I just always think Panthers And Wolves.

And you're right, this isn't the best starting point for Orchid, but this is the easiest thing for kids to actually get ahold of, seeing as most of their shit is long OOP.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

hey Will, are you going to the In/Humanity reunion in Philly this august?

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

ok, while this shit is rad, Chaos Is Me and Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! are essential. And this is functionally and in execution just a b-sides comp, not really allowing a real look at Orchid in their element. They worked much better in the context of a single release (especially album), and with around ten songs.

also, Orchid's career was five years. not exactly what I'd call "short".

and you didnt fucking mention Ampere, who (let's be honest with ourselves here) overshadow every other Orchid-related project ever.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

I was just listening to their last album today. This is one of the few screamo bands I like... Along with Swing Kids, In/Humanity and Mohinder.

I don't see this as having much connected with "emo" since the lyrics (especially their later era) weren't about human emotions. I'd see them as more of an arty hardcore/grind band. But everyone calls them screamo, so I guess they're right.

-Will

Sally_Field (December 27, 2005)

Anchors wins.

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