CD Review of Chapter XIII: Nightmares & Fairytales by Crimson Orchid

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Chapter XIII: Nightmares & Fairytales
no starno starno starno starno star Label: Self-released
Released: 2006
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Crimson Orchid. A name so rife with silly self-importance that you know what kind of tunes you’re getting into before you even put the CD in the player. Generally, bands with this type of moniker are either Goth babies or metal men. In Crimson Orchid’s case, it’s the latter, though if they were the former they wouldn’t have fared any better. Whatever happened to all the good band names? You can’t do a big announcement over the radio with a straight face reading off a name like “Crimson Orchid.” Not even if you stuck ‘em in there with a bunch of dried-up metal acts. “Tonight at the Meadowlands it’s Dio with special guests W.A.S.P., Britny Fox, and…Crimson Orchid.” Yeah, not so good.

Now, as for the music…meh. How many people actually listen to this kind of stuff anymore? I know, making sad music and bitching about all your personal problems is in vogue these days, but as you can see, the music business is in a craptastic freefall. The fact of the matter is, you may have your fans, but overall, this sort of “woe is us” mentality doesn’t secure anything in the long run. Lighten up already. I knew I was in trouble when the track listing was broken up into “parts” with the first track, “Prayer,” being the “prologue” and consisting of little children reciting the lines. Do you know how overdone that idea is? A new book of fresh ideas might be a good thing to put on the shopping list.

This is a self-produced album, but could you have made the drums sound any thinner? Seriously, where’s the bottom to that kick drum? It sounds like it’s about to shatter, it’s so paper thin. The rest of the mix sounds like a decent, but obviously homogenized production – pretty much as homogenized as some of these song titles. Let’s see, we have here “Human Chess,” “Another Crack in the Mirror,” “Abattoir,” “Mother’s Tears” and “Darker Shade of Bruise.” Classic. We feel your pain already and haven’t even begun to dig deeply into this work. Not that that’s really required, since this is all very much surface material. We get it. Death and pain have inspired you to make a conceptual “dark” album. You and every other band of your ilk. Oh, and that’s a really cheesy picture on the back of the booklet there, featuring a slashed wrist with the blood running from the wound morphing into orchids. Deep.

Well, since we’ve made it this far, let’s check out some lyrics. Ah, say, you might like to fix this section on your official website, because whoever typed out the words to these songs can’t spell worth a damn, either (“peices” and “exscuse” being two glaring examples right off the bat). I know you want to be taken seriously, and I’m aware that most kids online can’t spell worth a shit these days, but you don’t have to encourage that. Right, right, the music has the message. Well, let’s see what messages you have for us.

From “Dream Is Destiny” you offer us the following thrilling nugget of wisdom: “Exscuse [sic] me for a minute while I wipe away another tear / I’d like to take a second just to tell you why I’m here / Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful world / I’ve had a beautiful life and met some beautiful girls.” Wow that rhyme scheme would totally work in some books for children. If you fail in this music gig, you could always try out being a kids’ author. Oh wait, there’s some more here: “I’m reachin’ for the light but still held by the dark / Now I’m freaking screaming constant fighting off the fucking demon / Pullin’ shots into the shadows ‘cause nobody seems to see them.” Or hear them, for that matter.

Oh, let’s just go for the kill and get this over with. From “Another Crack in the Mirror”: “It slowly feeds on apathy / It slightly tears away the seams / The way they call, the consciouse [sic] fades / We act as dolls, take part in scenes.” And from “Abattoir”: “I’m afraid there’s no room for you here / Illuminate the view so you can stear [sic] clear.” Enough, already. Your damage to the English language is as bad as the overall songwriting on this album. Another overwrought, lame “metal” album down the crapper. The nice thing about this is Crimson Orchid will never be known outside of this review. Well, they have only one other review on their website, and apparently that didn’t help matters any. At least someone here is making a steady paycheck when it comes to this music. Zing!

~Jason Thompson