Review: Orthodox – Supreme

Orthodox_2_670It’s wailing and leaking. It just won’t die, yet it’s far beyond saving. Supreme is 36 minutes of imbalance and injury. It’s a prolonged, improvisatory swirl round the basin of death. Cymbals get wedged in cracked ribs of bass guitar. Saxophone gushes from the wound. Like one of those melodramatically drawn-out Hollywood death scenes, in which the bad guy staggers and grimaces after being shot 20 times in the chest, Orthodox defy their own demise for as long as they can, stumbling and dripping all over the pavement, battling fatigue and increasingly blotchy vision, panting deliriously as the breath runs short, turning blue and drenched in cold sweat, still upright, blood saturating clothing, desperately and hopelessly fighting back against the inevitable.

In the evocation of this feverish limbo state, every instrument timbre is perfect. Bass guitar ascends from the stodgy grunts of an instrument chewing itself to the cluttered roars of a failing engine, tumbling tunelessly from one pitch to another, with feedback singing freely from unoiled joints. The drums thunder with promise and its very thwarting, with cymbals choked short and fills pushed recklessly down the stairs, stalling every few seconds and clattering back to movement again. The saxophone (courtesy of Skullfuck’s Achilleas Polychronidis) is a whimper that begs, endlessly, for the violence to stop, looping its lament and laying further shrill complaints on top of it. When Supreme finally cuts out – anticlimactically, arbitrarily – what do Orthodox have to show for it? They dither on the edge of death yet refuse to return to life. Supreme won’t become, and Supreme won’t disappear. A stubborn, magnificently defiant mess.

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