The Underground Sounds Of America: Orthodox

The Nashville nu-core crew are getting creepier with age.

The Underground Sounds Of America: Orthodox
Cam Smith

Of the bands we featured in last year’s round-up of underground metalcore bands redefining the scene, Orthodox have shown some of the most interesting sonic development. It’s not that the Nashville quartet has strayed far from their signature sound, which remains a brand of vicious, brooding metal-infused hardcore whose crushing riffs and towering breakdowns take ample influence from nu-metal’s more shadowy corners. But it’s the inclusion of eerie, creepy moments on their recent singles that has helped them open up their sound to more nuanced horizons.

For vocalist Adam Easterling, 2019 has been a learning experience. Rather than chase a rock star dream, he’s noticed that it’s often those moments that take place furthest underground that have shaped Orthodox the most.

“Over the years we played many a show with very few people attending, and have been fortunate enough in the last couple years to have started consistently playing bigger shows,” says Adam. “However, that isn't always what makes a good set. We've played to hundreds of people crammed in a small room and gotten an even smaller reaction, and also played to 30 people in a massive room and had a blast. Basically what I've learned through this is don't rely on the crowd to give you the energy you need. Take it out of the air and play the best set you can every night and you'll reach somebody with it.”

READ THIS: Rock and metal stars remember the impact of Korn's Follow The Leader

This appreciation for the more entrenched moments is immediately present on the band’s upcoming album Let It Take Its Course. Though the record shows Orthodox opening themselves up as a band and sharing more vulnerable moments with their listeners, it is none the less merciless in its delivery. One moment, the band might give listeners a track with an approachable chorus that echoes something like Slipknot; the next, Adam is full-on death-growling over a breakneck thrash part. The record may see the band reach new heights of fame, but it remains made for fans of extreme music -- an instinct that Adam says comes in part from the musical legacy of Orthodox’s hometown.

“Nashville is stuffed full of the best musicians in the world, so the bar is set pretty high,” says the vocalist. “Everybody in this city is one degree of separation away from either a famous performer/artist, or someone who works/plays with them. So probably the biggest influence the city has is the personal expectations one can gather for themselves based on what they're constantly perceiving with the artists around them.”

Welcoming the hurt in all its forms, we spoke to Adam about being in a band on the brink of blowing way the fuck up.

1) If you had to play a newcomer one Orthodox song to introduce them to the band, what would it be and why?

I know it's not just one but I think I'd have to play them The Anticipation into the following song Panic off our first LP because I feel like that's the pairing that brought eyes on us for the first time. It was just exciting and weird enough that it made people curious, even if they didn't really like it all that much.

2) Who, in your opinion, are Orthodox's five biggest musical influences?

  1. System of a Down
  2. Korn
  3. Slipknot
  4. Gojira
  5. Meshuggah

3) Who would be on Orthodox's dream tour?

The big time dream tour for me would be anything involving the five bands mentioned as our influences. However, realistically here's a few bands I'd love to tour with that we haven't gotten the chance with yet:

  • Every Time I Die
  • Inclination
  • Daughters
  • Harms Way

4) You include 'straightedge' in your Bandcamp handle. Is that lifestyle something the entire band holds dear?

Orthodox has always been a Straight Edge band, and still is to this day. It isn't something that we try to push in people's faces, it's just a personal choice we've made that we wouldn't have any other way.

READ THIS: Orthodox want to watch you bleed in turbulent new video

5) It seems like with your more recent singles, you've been enjoying slower, creepier moments. What led to that side of Orthodox coming out?

I've always had an admiration for bands who could write songs that were heavy in ways that aren't usually approached - and I think that was the dynamic we were missing on our last record. A part of what led to us diving right into it with this coming album is simply not being afraid to fully explore what we can do. With "Sounds of Loss" we were nervous that we were going to put out an album too different from our previous releases and that it'd go over people's heads, and luckily it caught on. With "Let It Take Its Course" we know the standard is set for us and people expect a bigger leap into the influences we've been claiming to cling to. So yea, the nerves are definitely still there when writing something different than we have before, but we have a new found confidence in our chances of accomplishing that goal that we didn't have.

Orthodox's Let It Take Its Course comes out February 7 via Unbeaten Records, and is available for preorder.

Catch the band on tour next year with Spite and Varials at one of the dates below:

February 2020

13 - Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
14 - Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery Co.
15 - Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
16 - Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
19 - Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
20 - Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats West
21 - Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live
22 - Houston, TX @ The Secret Group
25 - Orlando, FL @ Soundbar
26 - Margate, FL @ O'Malley's
27 - Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
28 - Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
29 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Hell)

March 2020

01 - Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
03 - Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
04 - Fredrick, MD @ Café 611
05 - Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
06 - Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents
07 - Amityville, NY @ Revolution Music Hall
08 - Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
10 - Cleveland, OH @ The Foundry
11 - Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room
12 - Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
13 - Minneapolis, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
14 - Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
15 - Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
17 - Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
18 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
20 - Spokane, WA @ The Pin!
21 - Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
22 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?