Review: “Learning To Dissolve” by Orthodox

We talk regularly about how often the words “highly anticipated” are used when it comes to new music from certain bands but in the case of Nashville Tennessee Nu-Metalcore act Orthodox who specialise in bringing Hardcore to a new, disturbing place of unease, anger and brokenness those words ring true. Their sophomore album “Let It Take It’s Course” dropped in February 2020 and was met with widespread critical acclaim leading to the band signing to major label Century Media from Unbeaten Records that same year but that was something they weren’t able to announce until October 2021. At that time they were working on “Learning To Dissolve” with producer Randy LaBoeuf (Chamber, The Acacia Strain) and dropped single “Body & Soul“, a track subsequently cut adrift as standalone and leaving out a cut as good as that one can be seen in any number of ways, one of which being that perhaps the album itself wasn’t as far along as we might have thought at the time of the announcement, another perhaps being that the cut doesn’t fit the dynamic of the album as a whole and either way the bands mouth piece Adam Easterling would be the one to answer that…

The floor opens up with “Feel It Linger” a powerhouse cut in Metallic Hardcore with tinges of Slipknot influence in the guitar tone, drum sound and Easterling’s vocal stylings while still having a life of its own as a blistering and unexpected solo from Austin Evans proves this is far from idol worship. Swirling dark clouds bring the violent thoughts and the levels of aggression that the mosh pit will witness from the opening cut alone are testament to its sheer power. Lyrically “Head On A Spike” takes a chapter from David Gunn and King 810 with spoken word moments that throw back to the “Memoirs Of A Murder” era of the band with haunting resonance while throwing down the Beatdown Hardcore riffs a plenty. The introspective violence and unease of the bands previous record “Let It Take It’s Course” has been intensified to create a white knuckle ride by the time “Cave In” slaps you across the face like a woman scorned. Once again combining tight rhythmic prowess with a solo not usually heard in the genre which they call their own, while the lack of electronics separates them from the likes of giving them more reliance on the vocal prowess, something which plays to the bands strengths. Shiloh Krebs provides a glorious bass underpinning to “Become Divine“, a cut which confirms the bands rhythm section as being all important to their sound before “Digging Through Glass” finds Easterling conjuring an unexpected scream-a-long chorus during one of the bands most cathartic of anthems.

A primitive industrial soundscape gives the first half of the date coded “11-7-62” a haunting quality before the guitars kick in with the repeated line “I’ll stop knocking when you let me in” turning it into the perfect set opening cut while at the same time laying the foundation for the album title track “Dissolve“. Another one with an anthemic chorus that doesn’t lose any of the momentum or visceral darkness of the bands brutal approach, it will bring out the two steppers, the only flaw being that it’s a verse and chorus short, cutting off to unleash the pile driver that is “Fast Asleep” ahead of time. Another throat splitting anthem about night terrors and insomnia, it turns the energy up a notch while painting Easterling as a kind of Freddy Krueger character, living in dreams and driving fear into the heart of a lover with a disturbing quality. If you thought with a title like “Voice In The Choir” there would be any respite from the bands searing heat then you’d be s*** out of luck as the band do what they do best, once again unleashing Austin Evans more Technical Metallic Hardcore riffs amid a backdrop of pounding rhythms and unhinged vocals as Easterling screams “I can’t exist in a World without you“. A tour de force that finds Orthodox at the height of their powers, “Learning To Dissolve” threatens to break the mainstream with another collection of love stories about hatred that sounds like the soundtrack to a horror film you don’t want to watch but can’t bring yourself to look away from… [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Feel It Linger
  2. Head On A Spike
  3. Cave In
  4. Become Divine
  5. Digging Through Glass
  6. Nothing To See
  7. 11762
  8. Dissolve
  9. Fast Asleep
  10. All That I Am
  11. Voice In The Choir

Learning to Dissolve” by Orthodox is out now via Century Media

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