Release DetailsLABEL Tzadik
RELEASED ON 4/26/2005
Time of Orchids
posted on 4/2005 By:
I really like this record. At certain times of the day, a little atmospheric post-hardcore is exactly what I want from an album. You will notice I felt the need to qualify that statement because while the type of music produced by bands like Isis and Mahjas is moody and poignant, it too often lacks the impetus for creation I cherish in metal. Yes the product is enjoyable and fills a need; a guilty pleasure even, but it tends to straddle the wank line a bit closely and as such acts as a forum for showing off a practiced craft rather than expressing an ideology through action. I digress though, this album is not worthy of slagging on purely aesthetic grounds.
Likening Time of Orchids to more common fare whose names may strike associations with your bulging CD collection is the easy way out. While stylistic comparisons to the above bands are certainly relevant, there is an element here that makes Sarcast While quite unique. Please know that I mean unique both in the positive warm fuzzy sense, and also in the grimacing cringe inducing fashion. The whole of this disc’s arsenal has an eerie kind of brittle volatility to it and the opening seconds of “Advent” make abundantly clear the nature of what lies ahead. In seeming haphazard fashion four instruments enter in sequence all revisiting a common theme, as each instrument passes the phrase it devolves into a tremolo swell and the next player joins the fray. The final touch is madness peaking at crescendo as violent and loudly mixed piano chords slam home with a bizarre un-choir of oddly mellow and dissonant voices. A veritable cacophony of voices mind you, in a style that would make Devin Townsend’s mixing fingers twitch with delight. The level of intensity shifts periodically but this sort of thing is clearly the band’s general mechanism of operation.
Rather than use screaming to create a swell of power when the normality of airy clean vocals are just not enough, Time of Orchids almost always resort to disturbing combinations of vocal mixing and key. The intensity or calamity that ensues is not always pleasant, but never fails in creating a sense of urgency. Set against the background of alternating time signatures and general insanity in its most sedated form, I can’t help but think of this gem as Disco Volante’s distant cousin. The songwriter’s opinions of continuity both seem to shadow Mike Patton and Townsend in that fashion.
While my quarrel with their total lack of taste in the use of very bad female vocals and movie samples here and there is largely inconsolable, I will freely admit that when all is said and done I am impressed with this lot. Over the course of a very substantial fifteen tracks my hand only spastically leaps for the skip button twice. Kudos and accolades are in order here. Time of Orchids manage to keep my interest with constant variation within the constraints of a style I consider largely vapid.
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