Tragic

Orange 9mm

Atlantic, 1996

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/15/2015

Having been disappointed by Orange 9MM’s debut Driver Not Included, I stayed away from the band for a while. Then, after hearing a couple of tracks off this record, I tracked it down and started kicking myself. The band came back full force with their sophomore record and this album should go down as one of the best post-hardcore records of the ‘90s.

Songs like “Failure” and “Fire In The Hole” are more radio friendly, but it’s the songs that weren’t singles that are the main attractions here. The title track is just slammin’ with some great music from drummer Matthew Cross, guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Taylor McLam. Singer Chaka Malik has so much more power than on the first album and his energy just kicks the proceedings up more than a notch.nbtc__dv_250

“7” is one of the best songs, ever. Seriously. It’s that good! Just find it on YouTube and crank the volume. One will undoubtedly be impressed by the heaviness of the music and how strong Chaka’s vocals are. “Dead In The Water” is an interesting twist in the band’s trajectory. More downbeat than anything else on the record, it’s a height that the band hadn’t previously reached. Producer Dave Sardy, at this point still a member of Barkmarket, really helped keep the music clean and Chaka’s vocals rich in the mix, something that set the band apart from all the other post-hardcore bands of the major label era. The fact that Chaka could sing and rap made them all the more impressive.

“Method” is the type of song that’s perfect to listen to if you’re really pissed off at the world. It’s just very heavy and aggressive with some great work from the rhythm section. “Take You Away” is another song that separated the band from the rest of the pack. Full of emotion and fury, the band just takes it to another level. How they never became as big as KoRn or, god forbid, Limp Bizkit is a complete mystery to me.

The band shed guitarist Chris Traynor before the touring for this album began, and they never again regained the heights reached on this record. After one more album, the band split in 2000. After fifteen years, I think a reunion is necessary (that is, if Traynor can find time away from his new gig as Gavin Rossdale’s right hand man in Bush). The moral here is: listen to this album and give this band the props they were denied all those years ago.

Rating: A

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