Described by vocalist Adam Easterling as a concept record of "anticipated grief," the songs on Orthodox's new LP, Sounds of Loss, were written to convey the musical equivalent of "what fear would sound like." For the most part, they succeed.
Spoken word on "The Anticipation" introduces the record, and is rounded out by unapologetic nu-metal worship. The band's guitar melodies are reminiscent of Korn, while Easterling's vocal delivery nods at Corey Taylor of Slipknot. Standouts on the album include "Panic," thanks to the pummelling drum performance, and "Second Best," which benefits from chaotic guitar and Easterling's vocal execution. Elsewhere, there's notable death metal influence on both instrumental track "Waiting" and "In the Dark," which features guest vocals from Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose, while the sludgy guitar chugging present on "I'm Scared of You" is complemented by the diverse vocal range of Easterling, giving the song a demented characteristic.
There is fat to be trimmed: The minute-long instrumentals at the end of "I'm Scared of You" and "Fallen Behind" are excessive, and "Dementia" and "Resent Me" lack structure and overuse layered vocals, sounding like something from King 810's cutting room floor. The title track recalls the melodic and industrial elements of Type O Negative or Twitching Tongues, but feels insincere sandwiched between the death/nu-metal worship in its neighbouring tracks.
That said, "The Approach" and "The Taking" round out the album with colourful riffing and the intense vocal delivery that made earlier tracks on the record enjoyable. The boredom felt from earlier tracks melts away, and the band feel redeemed.
Ultimately, Orthodox demonstrate they're a creative force amongst their peers here. While campier elements of nu-metal continue to gain traction in 2017, Sounds of Loss showcases the harder and darker elements of nu-metal — minus the JNCO jeans and trucker hats. (Unbeaten Records)