Codex Orzhova – Baja Blasted (Self-Released)

Thursday, 11th June 2020
Rating: 7.5/10

Under the flag of there being no real limit to creativity these days, Codex Orzhova is here to bring you something rather unique. That being the combination of 8-bit Nintendo synths and combining it with more mathy and extreme riffing. The result is often a bit of a spastic one, but it will certainly hold your interest as the band swerves and grinds their way though Baja Blasted.

There’s a certain amount of unpredictability to this type of music at its core, so infusing the math metal-ish riffing with some fun Nintendo sounds, as well as some random samples, ups that factor significantly. The music will go from full-out riffing and screaming, to a carnival-esque synth, to a melodic combination of both elements – in the case of “Cirque du Fuck” that is. Explosive truly is the best way to describe the riffing. Technical at its core, but still able to carry a bit of melody at the same time (“Bodies Beneath the Wheel”), it’s yet another reason why this release will take some time to really sink in with the listener. But the biggest, and arguably the most important factor, is how the band is able to take what might be pretty intricate and abrasive elements, and make them feel fun. There’s a proggy yet playful element to the feeling overall, and the chiptune injections give it an extra layer of appeal that may coax some people into giving it a chance that might otherwise avoid it. And given the short, 18-minute runtime and grindcore-length tracks, it lends a much better starting point for folks looking to dive into some more eccentric material.

While it can feel a bit crazied and chaotic at times, Baja Blasted is nonetheless a fun listen that will entertain while it tries its hardest to fry some of your brain cells along the way. It is a bit of a niche release, but for those looking to expand their horizons, it’s a great starting point.

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