Emerging from the idyllically located city of Denver, Colorado, Orphans present a subverted attack on modern hardcore that takes cues from off-beat bands such as Circle Takes The Square and These Arms Are Snakes. The four track E.P is a furious collision of chaos and calm that begins with flurries of concentrated vitriol that only increases as the record progresses. You won’t find any formulaic breakdowns here, only four unorthodox tracks of intense emotional release. Vocal screams are almost acidic in their unremitting caustic fury- a cheese grater to the ears for some and an endurance test for many but pure aural bliss for certain strange types such as myself who like to exercise their anger in a vicarious manner. Orphans though, address emotion head on. While some bands feel inclined to hide their true opinions amongst abstract metaphors the band see no need to try and mask subjects that obviously produce a lot of anguish within their collective psyches. “I care more about what people think of me, then I think about myself” screams the explosive and confessional lyrical bite of the frank vocalist.
‘Blood Of The Father’ lures the listener into a false sense of security with softly strummed chords that in retrospect serve only as a short prelude to the unrelenting anguish which resides in every strained scream and feedback blast, both of which are so piercing they could be weaponized. ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ begins in much the same fashion as the track before, but this time the fury that follows the calm is expected although its impact is no less compelling. Guitars utilise tapping techniques to introduce notions of melody and delay-ridden lead lines provide some atmosphere to the otherwise hostile proceedings. Overdriven discordance and introspective beauty both exist in a tense ‘Bengals’, with punishing atonal riffs giving way to a short mid-song oasis of delicately played clean guitar melodies that arrives like the uneasy calm of the eye of a hurricane. As closer ‘White Guilt’ plays, instruments slowly start to unravel and there is a real threat that the whole song will simply descend into pure white noise. But just when the track is on the brink of collapse the band reels in for a final exorcism of pain that culminates in an acerbic blast of feedback as the final blow for brutalized ears. A must hear for fans of the more cerebrally inclined hardcore sphere, Pack Mentality is an intelligent emotional catharsis punctuated with pockets of much craved harmony. Agony never sounded so good.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!