Ever since 1999 or so, I’ve been fascinated by this band, as well as perplexed by the great loathing which many people have towards them. I found Orgy so different from the rest of the pack of KoRn, Rage Against the Machine, Creed, and Nirvana wannabes which dominated the “rock” slots of most radio and television stations; they sounded, acted (not to mention dressed), and generally seemed to be nothing like anyone else in the mainstream music world. That was what originally whetted my curiosity, and one evening in late 2000 I bought both of Orgy’s albums from the time, and to this day I don’t regret that. In fact, I still hold them in high regard for being one of the more original and talented bands in the mainstream.
Orgy fall into several clichés which rendered them so greatly spurned by people everywhere. For one, they were a popular band for quite some time; it was not uncommon to hear them played on various radio stations and see videos to “Stitches,” “Blue Monday,” and other singles on MTV. Many a foolish, immature person from each generation’s youth is quick to assume that if a band or musician is popular, they lack talent, sold out, etc., etc. Obviously, that is not a good reason to knock a band like Orgy; popularity does not represent talent. Tool is one of the most popular bands of the 1990’s and onward and yet do people regard *them* as untalented? I rest my case. What’s more, Orgy are signed to KoRn’s music label, Elementree; oh no, they’re involved with KoRn? They *have* to suck then, right? Wrong…
It is due to some of the more material aspects of Orgy that many other people dislike them. For instance, they wear makeup – a lot. Okay, right away that can be argued, because music is about *sound,* not appearances; next question? Oh, Orgy doesn’t play very complex songs, eh? That’s not their style; they like to make short, trippy songs, plain and simple. It seems that these surface-value clichés are what most people base their dislikes upon; fairly weak arguments, all.
What I *really* don’t understand is how Orgy gets lumped with their distortion- and angst-heavy contemporaries in the numetal (hissssssssssssssss…) genre; Orgy sound nothing like them! Frontman Jay Gordon never screams nor whines about a bad childhood – and thankfully, he’s never *once* rapped in any of their songs; the guitars never try too get to heavy or outlandish; and *some* credit has to be given to the drumming, which sometimes gets tastefully intricate. Even I will admit that Jay’s voice is a bit monotonous most of the time, but he is capable of quite a range, and doesn’t sound like he’s straining (something which even Jon Davis of KoRn does frequently). So the guitars are very simplistic in style; they add texture and melody to the music – not to mention Amir Derakh’s unique blend of synthesizer-like effects in his leads (read: not just bouts of feedback, a la Godsmack or Seether) are a real treat. In fact, it is this latter quality which really separates Orgy from the rest of the pack; they’re more akin to Nine Inch Nails than they are to, say, KoRn.
And so here is CANDYASS, their debut album. The sound and production are crystal-clear (one of the benefits of mainstream attention, no doubt); the songs are all wholly unique from one another, with no filler or rehash to be found. “Stitches” is a minor scale, trippy song with a rather creepy melody, giving off vibes of helplessness and desperation (without getting over-the-top) and being heavy not through distortion, but ambience. “Fetisha” and “Social Enemies” have more of a grinding, mid-tempo groove, with fairly sexual atmosphere. “Blue Monday,” their most famous single, is not much of a change from the original version musically, but fitted with Orgy’s darker sound, the vibe changes drastically. “Dissention” is fast and sleek, heavy yet without being particularly aggressive or ominous, not to mention with nice guitar interplay. This is a fine collection of songs, and I enjoy listening to it every now and then even nowadays.
Maybe most people aren’t ready for Orgy; maybe the band is just too out-of-place to really click with society. Orgy gives me mesmerizing chills, because when I listen to their music, I’m not just listening to a band, but to music from a future world like something out of a sci-fi novel. I’m not saying that they’re “the sound of the future,” but rather the sound of another world outside of mankind’s preconceptions of time and space. Orgy is cool like that.
I’m not saying Orgy is the most original band to emerge in the `90’s, and I’m not saying that they are the most talented. What I’m really trying to say is that they are highly overlooked and underrated, because nobody gives them a chance. However, if approached with an open mind and an active imagination, Orgy might well make for a wholly unique listen.