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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Orion

(Pax-Am Records 006)
Released 5/18/10

"Anyone who loved this record, seriously, please seek out Angel Rat and Nothingface by Voivod. The entire record was my way of saying "thank you" to Denis D'Amour for many years of inspiring me after I learned of his untimely death from colon cancer. [...] He was a wonderful guitarist and for all accounts an amazing gifted man...... I have used his "backwards barred chords" idea in nearly every one of my Cardinals songs since" - Ryan Adams

"It's (Orion) about the Orion armada who are fighting Ghorgon, Master of War; and his army of ice robots called The Ice Brigade...... I love that I did it. It's just so dumb and funny..." - Ryan Adams (from Live at Abbey Road, 2011)


The Reviews

"Despite some flaws, the album generally is a homage and less of a satire of all things metal. The album sounds like Motorhead’s ferocity meets the poetic drama of Dio with a pinch of sci-fi epicness for good measure...." (Chris Coplan, Consequence of Sound)


1. Signal Fade
2. Imminent Galactic War
3. Disappyramid
4. Fire Away
5. Defenders of the Galaxy
6. Fire and Ice
7. By Force
8. Ghorgon, Master of War
9. Ariel
10. Electro Snake
11. Victims of the Ice Brigade
12. 2,000 Ships
13. End of Days

Ryan Adams - Vocals, Guitars, 
Jamie Candiloro - Drums, Synth
Dale Nixon - Bass

All Songs Written by Ryan Adams
Produced and Mixed by Jamie Candiloro
Engineered by Charlie Stavish
Recorded and Mixed at Electric Lady Studios, NYC
Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering


The Background

What else would you expect from Ryan Adams' first release after leaving Lost Highway than a heavy metal concept record about  space gladiators and ice robots? Adams has referred to Orion as his "first fully realized sci-fi metal album" and also happens to be one of his loudest albums. It's meant to serve as a homage to one of Ryan's favorite metal bands of all time - Voivod.

Orion was recorded during the same sessions that spawned Easy Tiger in 2006. Jamie Candioloro joins Ryan along with a "mystery" bass player listed under the pseudonym of "Dale Nixon" (but rumoured to be Greg Ginn of Black Flag). The name - "Dale Nixon" is a popular "fake name" used in hardcore circles, and in the past has been used for Greg Ginn, Brian Baker of Minor Threat, and even Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.

Ryan sings from the perspective of a soldier in the Orion armada, an intergalactic army trying to protect their homeland from evil invaders. Unfortunately, Ghorgon's evil army (called the Ice Brigade) can't be stopped, and greedily goes into a killing rampage in order to collect Orion's vast supply of crystal. In the end, under Ghorgon's rule - the ice robots, electro-snakes, and electro-spiders turn Orion into a city of dust. Most of the Orion armada is left hiding under the rocks of the city......... (I smell a sequel?!).


The Review

Orion is an awesome little 30 minute blast of rock mayhem, worth a listen, and a chuckle. Musically, it's a pretty solid record, with plenty of rock riffage to keep you jumping around the room for days. However the problem lies with his vocals, which just aren't metal enough to pull off these tunes. Orion serves as a nice "curiosity record", one that stands tall next to The John Waters Christmas Album; 70's Disco Remixes of Pink Floyd; and Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. It's nice to revisit once in a while, but far from a must own album.

Not Essential but at least worth some downloads

Key Tracks: "Fire and Ice", "Electro Snake", "Dissapyramid"


Other Versions/ Other Bonus Cuts Worth Checking Out

In 2010, some pre-orders of Orion came packaged with a bonus 7" featuring 2 bonus tracks - ("Crossing Foggy Mountains" and "Valhalla").

In 2010, pre-orders of the album came on limited edition clear vinyl, and came with a 24x24 poster designed by Voivod drummer - Michael Langevin, and a download card.

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