Orange 9mm wowed 'em from coast-to-coast on 1996's Warped Tour, and their second album leaves little question as to why. Not to sell this riff-heavy NYC quartet short, but Tragic
is twice the record anyone may have figured this relatively young group had in 'em. It is a bold combination of all the best elements of '90s rock: crunching guitar, groove-heavy rhythms, aggro rap vocals, a good dose of well-placed melody, and some well-written, hook-laden tunes.
Few groups could successfully bring together so many styles and make them sound so perfect together, but Orange 9mm do it with confidence and ease. Though all four members pull their weight equally, it is vocalist Chaka Malik, who rages through grinding crushers like "Fire in the Hole" and the title track, just as easily as he croons on groovy pop songs like "Dead in the Water" and "Kiss It Goodbye," who makes this album special. Unlike many of his throat-shredding contemporaries, Chaka possesses an amazing voice with range, control, and power, and he can do a whole lot more than scream with it.
Orange 9mm graciously deliver their latest opus at a time when loud rock has seemingly reached another dead end with the two-dimensional, directionless aggression of the Deftones and Korn. Tragic's complexity and depth thankfully give new life to a genre too focused on mere venting. Though Orange 9mm do their share of letting off steam, they also explore the entire realm of emotions without losing an ounce of intensity. --Adem Tepedelen