FDF Volume 3 Issue 287 - Orange 9MM - Tragic
Album - Tragic
Artist – Orange 9MM
Key Players – Matthew Cross – drums and percussion. Taylor McLam – bass. Chris Traynor – guitars. Chaka Malik – vocals and percussion
Produced By – D. Sardy
Release Date – July 30, 1996
What caused me to blow off the dust? - Any time I want something hard/heavy but still on the “clean” side of things I always drift towards the band. Rough commutes this week had me needing that “slight edge”
Overview – The band formed in New York City in 1994. This album here was their second major label release. Mixing hardcore, punk and rock and roll the band would not really be on many folks radar. Radio liked the style at the time, but O9 never seemed to get a fair shake. The band would be put on some pretty heavy tours (Deftones, Helmet, Korn etc). Right before the tour was to kick off to promote the album Traynor left the band to join Helmet (Meantime FDF). The band would make some line up changes but despite a large tour the label dropped them. They'd release another ep and a full length, but by 1999 it was all over.
FDF Comments (aka the songs) - As a note, Traynor also played bass in the studio for this record, but McLam moved to bass, then guitar. Try to follow along...Thirteen tracks total kick off with “Fire in the Hole”. The track builds will slow swirling guitars before it takes off. Cross hits the drums pretty hard and the guitars from Traynor have a solid layer. After a few bars the bass and Cross set the tempo and Malik begins the vocals. He is quiet, until he pushes it hard at the chorus. There are no backing vocals so Malik really pushes and the band seems okay with the role they have. The punch on the bass takes over and Cross really has a vendetta on his drums it seems. The intro on “Tragic” is just a big wall of awesome. The guitar riffs and again that punch on the bass. Cross calms it down and Malik comes in with some distorted spoken vocals. Traynor lays the bass line, but then we all come back around and punch it up. Stand out track. Track 3 is called “7” and the bass is again the focus with the slow notes rolling until he decides to put the hammer down. Cross is right there with him and he continues to hit hard. Traynor on guitar, is late to the party, but when let in he makes is presence known. The track has a torrid pace. The track just exploded and the chorus is what kept this from being widely heard as it is sung “What's Fucking Wrong with your Head”. The slow burn of “Gun to your Head” rolls out of the speakers. Cross keeps it slow, but the bass finds a solid swooping groove and Traynor slowly builds on to that with guitar. Malik is hushed, and seems to be at ease with the verses being almost spoken, before he explodes on the chorus. “Stick Shift” is mostly an interlude track. Tripped out bass line and Cross on the kit with Malik in a heavily compressed vocal. Its all of 55 or so seconds..largely shippable. The tempo is slower, but no less heavy as “Dead in the Water” gets underway. The bass and drums still stand out and Malik never seems to be in a hurry. Traynor strums the acoustic guitar on this and the percussive instruments are up in the mix. The track shows a different side to the band, and there is also the first notable guitar “solo” on the record. When records are heavy you often expect them more often then not, so it is nice that it is not a cliché thing. “Method” has a solid slappy bass open that has a great ring on. Malik is in a hurry here and come the chorus the band really explodes and the clean distortion from Traynor adds to the impact of the tune. For the second tune in a row we get the guitar solo, but it is short and on point and it rolls right back in to the chorus having the full band get the musical explosion. “Crowd Control” is another interlude type track. We are slowed down again as “Muted” begins. This time it is just Traynor (guitar) on the lead before the band comes in. The song feels a little strained to me, just seems like it wants to get somewhere, it just never seems to. “Take You Away” is just perfect in every way. This to me is Orange 9MM. Everything..just listen below...everything done right in a rock song. Hooks, drive, fist pump chorus...its all there. “Failure” starts off with the track muted before the band opens up. This is a bit more of a radio friendly type track with the riffs big and there being a radio format of verse/chorus/verse delivery. Twelve songs in and the love for Traynor's bass intros continues as “Feel It' gets the treatment. Come the chorus the band really opens up. This is one of those tunes that has the energy of a show closer/set closer with the ferocious playing. This just drives it right at you. The album closes with the track “Kiss it Goodbye” a foot stomping blues track. The band really breaks out of their comfort zone and ease back some and you can see them sitting in a circle with the slides on their guitars and a snare drum, upright bass. They put their own twist on it, but you get the idea I trust.
Where are they now? - The band would release a final record after this as well as an ep, but there was a lot of change in the band. Traynor left the band before it was released to join Helmet. He then went on to join the band Bush and follow Gavin to his other project Institute and is now back with Bush. He joined, and recorded with Rival Schools, but that music has not been released. McLam moved from bass over to guitar during this albums release. He too worked a bit with Rossdale (Bush) (We looked at Sixteen Stone here) and has since gone on to be a composer and producer working on film scores, tv ads etc. Check the link on him below, its 300+ ads and you've seen/heard far more than you think!
I've been unable to find much on Matthew Cross. Chaka went back to his first band “Burn” and they released another album before calling it quits. On line searches show he was doing some DJ work in New York City, but nothing solid/recent that I have been able to find.
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The very first time I saw O9mm was opening for Ned's Atomic Dustbin (Are you Normal FDF) at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence Rhode Island. When the band completed the set the crowd was so ravenous they all but demanded an encore. The band obliged, plugged back in and rocked the living hell out of the place. Thus began a love affair with them. They toured CONSTANTLY it seemed for 3-4 years and I saw them with such acts as Downset, Downset FDF) The Deftones (Around the Fur FDF) and many others. All told I count seeing Orange 9mm live 11 times. The final few shows I saw them I actually taped their shows, wish I had a rig earlier. I got to be a little friendly with both Chaka and Matthew over time.
FDF Overall Take – There is no doubt this is a snap shot of the early days of rock/rap and it holds up pretty well. Overall there are few misfires. The interludes are skippable, but when the band is on, they really are on. This is some good clean hard heavy stuff. Check em..really.
The band was around early on in the “web” days so there is not even a fan page I can find. Needless to say..
Taylor - information
Taylor bio page -here
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Take You Away (Live)
Long out of print but you can find them here
Take You Away (Live)
Long out of print but you can find them here
Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.