Album: Let It Take Its Course
There are many ways to classify disease. Contagious or non-contagious, malignant or benign, insidious or sudden—each scheme has pluses and minuses. One scheme compares those diseases which are progressive in a linear fashion against those that are progressive in a cyclic fashion. Those that are linear—most forms of cancer, for example—tend to be predictable and generally more amenable to palliative treatment. Those that are cyclic—the primary form of multiple sclerosis, malaria, or most forms of mental/cognitive illness—are more difficult to treat from a medical standpoint. They eat away at their victim, giving brief moments of relative remission and freedom only to begin again—but often worse—plunging an individual back into tides of illness. How does this relate to Orthodox and their sophomore full-length release, Let It Take Its Course? Abstractly, in a word. Let It Take Its Course reflects the tumultuous and unpredictable course of cyclic mental illness—using many repeating themes throughout the record’s just-over-half-an-hour run time to lure the listener into complacency only to snap them back into the present with jarring salvos of frantic aggression. The result is a cruel, corrosive—but creative and immersive—experience that sees the band doing what many thought impossible: topping their ambitious debut, Sounds of Loss.
Instrumentally, Let It Take Its Course can be summarized pretty well as haunting. Striking a jarring contrast between haunting, eerie atmosphere and spastic aggression, Orthodox build on the curious, unique dynamic that they established on their breakout full-length. “Obsinity,” as well as “Why Are You Here?” are two brilliant examples, using skin-rending breakdowns carefully interspersed between moments of hair-raising, anxiety-inducing ethereality driven by tediously picked leads and subtle-but-bouncy percussion. “Leave” is another track which deserves special attention, as it manages to brilliantly stride the line between frenzied, mosh-friendly energy and placid, deceptive calm (especially true as the song builds into a ruthless breakdown during the track’s back half). What makes Let It Take Its Course a brilliant record instrumentally isn’t the dynamic between heavy and spooky on songs like “I Can Show You God” or “Why Are You Here?”—it’s that some of the most captivating elements of the record ebb and flow in an almost cyclic nature. Leads and patterns that appear for the first time on “Why Are You Here?” can be heard edging into other parts of the record towards the end, often mirrored by similar lyrical themes. This cyclic nature gives latter parts of the record a deceptive sense of familiarity, luring the listener into complacency mere moments before knocking the wind out of them with something new and ludicrous. In this sense, it seems wrong to call Orthodox just “hardcore” or “metalcore,” as the elements they combine (from nu-metal to post-metal to grunge to all things “-core”) provide something infinitely more impressive—and the manner in which the band deliver their product only amplifies that.
The same unique, eerie dynamic that drives Orthodox’s instrumental element home is present in every aspect of their vocal element as well. “Obsidian” kicks things off in perhaps the most straightforward fashion seen throughout Let It Take Its Course. From there on in, as the listener reaches songs like “Leave” and “I Can Show You God,” spoken, sung and screamed elements take effect; this is where Orthodox truly set themselves apart from so many of their peers. “Leave,” alongside “Look At Me” and “Wrongs” (the latter of which is a somber, closing ballad for an otherwise immolating release) are excellent examples of the band’s vocal and lyrical ingenuity, splicing ear-splitting screams into bitterly mumbled spoken segments perfectly fitting for their relative instrumental backdrop. In all honesty, the vocal elements become difficult to describe—but without a doubt, they remain one of the more engrossing and captivating components to Orthodox, and the interplay between the vocal and instrumental elements make Let It Take Its Course are what make it an outstanding example of unique contemporary metalcore.
Let It Take Its Course is an adventure—and it’s a record you truly need to let run a rampage through you. Orthodox tackle aggression, heaviness and rage alongside soul-splitting sentiments of loss and listlessness. While some points get a little…well, weird, those moments are what make Let It Take Its Course really jump off the page (or out of the disc, so to speak). If nothing else, Orthodox have made a record that you—the reader—owe it to yourselves to listen to.
For Fans Of: Prison, Vicious Embrace, Varials
By: Connor Welsh