Orchid’s Curse – The Decay (Self-Released)

Friday, 16th June 2023
Rating: 7.5 / 10

Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada is home to Orchid’s Curse, a unit that have been actively hitting the scene since the mid 2000’s with a sound that may be hard to pigeonhole yet can be quite aggressive as well as infectious as this latest EP The Decay showcases. They’ve released multiple EP’s, albums, plus a split digital outing with fellow Canadian melodic death act Deadgaard, supporting a diverse selection of bands live from Goatwhore to Exhumed, Children of Bodom to KEN Mode, 3 Inches of Blood to The Black Dahlia Murder. After a few spins of this five-song effort, prepare to suffer some mental/physical bruising at the ferocious tones, attacking nature, and stunning comfort of shifts between melodic death, metalcore, groove/thrash, and hardcore elements thrown into the arrangements.

The band easily slide from a progressive-oriented part into something slamming, choosing to keep things more melodic for special lead breaks or quick hitting transitions – “Dead Idols” a standout in all facets, vocal immediacy / blasting measures elevating the energy level before the guitars/tempos shift into a more streamlined groovy/death template. Smartly mixing up speedier material with a heads down crushing effort such as “Divergence of Man” ensures little ear fatigue, the open rhythm section work from bassist Jason Szeto and drummer Alex Wrathell slow/steady for the next sledgehammer riff barrage. The guitar work encompasses cleaner, more moody textures at times that prepare the listener for the heavier or more progressive future movement – Brian Jones and Keith MacLeod pushing all sorts of death, thrash, and metalcore angles on the adventurous closer “Pay to Prey”. The forceful, militant delivery vocalist Josh Hagan employs pushes the band into that raw, crossover territory – its an aspect that won’t be soon forgotten from the first song to last. These musicians understand the need to pump out killer hooks right from the get go – which is what you’ll get in the stunted, staccato-like shifts surrounding the melodeath mainframe “Better Men”, bridging aspects of At the Gates, Machine Head, and The Black Dahlia Murder.

Orchid’s Curse contains solid players plus dynamic abilities to synthesize numerous sub-genres into a coherent sound. The Decay will probably appeal most to those who enjoy a bit more progressive twists against their normal groove/melodic death/metalcore-oriented tracks.

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