ALBUM REVIEW: Chroma (ORPHIC)
ALBUM Chroma // ARTIST Orphic
Oozing with vivid thematics and measured ferocity, the debut album Chroma from metalcore newcomers Orphic is a steadfast journey of melodic brutality that simultaneously pays homage to the contemporary and earlier greats of the genre, while also stamping a firm sense of self from this dynamic new group.
Hailing from the North East of England, Orphic may technically be classed as a "new" band on the scene, but this metalcore bunch boast an impressive rap sheet between vocalist and lyricist Chris Baty and main writer and producer Ronnie Young (aka FOH engineer for Plini, Animals As Leaders and Periphery). Firmly poised in the cacophonous metalcore realm, Orphic have been slowly teasing their debut album Chroma with the release of their lead singles signalling searing arrangements and melodic vigour in abundance in wait on the eventual full-length outing. And while the overall result for Chroma is a textbook metalcore event akin to the searing beauty of Architects mixed with the angsty grit of Deftones and the compelling spunk of Norma Jean, the audacious composure, crystalline production and hard-hitting narratives tilted throughout the space of 12 tracks on Chroma places Orphic as a definite heir to the future metalcore throne.
Beginning Chroma in an ambient hush, the appropriately titled Intro swirls synths and ethereal tones in a delicate and anticipatory display, before the crushing stylings of Collapse erupts, and Orphic establish their incendiary metalcore wiles. From the raging riffs to the surging grooves and bubbling electronic undertones, there's undeniable flavours of Architects and the like from the get-go, but with an enduring and well-executed interpretation at the hands of the Orphic gents.
Next up, the spitfire Unanswered (feat. Juan Pardo) oscillates between dusky brutality and ambient emotion with razor-sharp ease, while Avarice lashes out with pumping beats and beseeching rasp as vocalist Chris Baty flexes his growls and gravelled flair in gripping fashion. And from the closing ambient reprieve of Avarice comes Disaffect, Pt. 1, upping the sonic menace and gnarled grooves with the occasional mesmerising melodic flourish (and some truly divine crunchy harmonics).
Midway through Chroma, the Orphic status quo is well and truly established, with introspective thematics bleeding through djenty bounce on The Path and moody warbles on the instrumental interlude Mauve. And continuing on from the maudlin stylings of Mauve, Desiderium balances blistering tones with a genuine dollop of heartfelt emotives as Orphic detail the exquisite pain that accompanies ardent desire or longing (aka, the literal definition of the track's title).
Orphic get their hypnotic boots on next with Bloom, flitting between musing and ethereal chill and brawling bliss. Showcasing significant extremes in the Orphic repertoire and an especially dynamic outing across the board, Bloom's searing tones delicately tower without overpowering while bringing intriguing shades to the typical metalcore trope.
As the album slowly draws to a close, we're gifted with the thumping Layogenic and the more dulcet stylings of Disaffect, Pt. 2. But it's on the closing track Minutes that Orphic hurl everything they've got, culminating in frenzied and chaotic beauty harbouring brief moments of composed fervour.
Brandishing the quintessential sonic twists and turns associated with the traditional metalcore realms, Chroma brings everything you'd want from a contemporary heavy release of this nature; from the gutteral growls and searing grooves to the wavering light and shade and emotive weight, Orphic have set their own bar extremely high on this debut full-length release. And while Chroma may not seemingly branch out too far beyond Orphic's stylistic musical roots, the group's polished execution mixed with original flourishes results in an irresistible and immersive journey of egoism and rumination that will pulse under your skin long after the riffs and rasps have faded away. Long story short: this is a metalcore must-do.
ORPHIC'S DEBUT ALBUM CHROMA IS DUE OUT FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 18, FOR MORE INFO HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER