Orthodox: “We don’t write records for anybody but ourselves.” (12/14 and 12/15 w/ The Acacia Strain)

Although thrash legends Megadeth took the liberties of naming their recent summer shed trek (alongside Lamb of God, Trivium, and Hatebreed) “Metal Tour of the Year,” that title might...

Although thrash legends Megadeth took the liberties of naming their recent summer shed trek (alongside Lamb of God, Trivium, and Hatebreed) “Metal Tour of the Year,” that title might more accurately and rightfully belong to the current, far-more-intimate, jaunt featuring The Acacia Strain, Kublai Khan, Orthodox, and recently profiled Dying Wish (Although, if we’re splitting hairs, this might technically be more of the “Metalcore Tour of the Year.”)  This month-and-a-half-long tour has the four bands playing two nights in each city with different sets each night (Headliners The Acacia Strain will be performing It Comes in Waves in its entirety and select songs from Slow Decay on night one and Wormwood in its entirety on night two.)  And Philadelphia has the unique distinction of seeing the bands actually play two different venues, 12/14 at Underground Arts and 12/15 at The First Unitarian Church.  I recently got the chance to chat with Orthodox vocalist Adam Easterling, who has not only been anticipating this tour for quite some time but is especially excited to get to share the stage with our friends in Dying Wish.

“This tour was supposed to happen in the summer of 2020 and the tour was announced in January of 2020 and Dying Wish wasn’t on the bill at that point.  But we’d played with them once and I’d known Emma for a while and then their album came out and it was like, ‘Holy shit, this is the hottest band in metalcore right now!’ And to have them playing before us…  I mean, we have our show, but to have the band that’s in front of you really challenge you to push yourself is kind of nice.  It’s gonna be, from start to finish, an insane night, and if you don’t get there for Dying Wish’s whole set, you’re totally stupid.”

This October Orthodox released “Body & Soul,” the first single off of their forthcoming third LP, in conjunction with the announcement of the band’s signing to Century Media Records, which Adam tells me actually happened quite some time ago: “We met Mike Gidder, the VP of A&R, in February of 2020.  He came to see us at Chain Reaction in Anaheim at the beginning of what was supposed to be a big year for us and we signed with Century Media in, I think, May of 2020.”  However, with the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, everything was put temporarily on hold, although Adam admits that, in a way, that just added to the excitement: “There’s been a lot of anticipation.  We were on the label for more than a year before I even got an intro email, but everyone so far has been great.”

Orthodox’s upcoming LP will follow-up 2020’s Let It Take Its Course, which, like 2017’s Sounds of Loss, saw the band continuing to push the boundaries of metalcore, incorporating a lot of turn-of-the-century nu metal [Easterling has previously expressed his love of bands like Korn and Slipknot and, during our chat he tells me, upon being asked about his ideal year of the festival, that he would have loved to have been able to go to Ozzfest ’98 to see Limp Bizkit, Hed (PE), and, his, “all-time favorite band,” System of a Down at those prime early years of their careers.]  The Orthodox frontman tells me that fans can expect the band to continue down this path on their third full-length.

“The last two albums were kind of deliberately weird, very deliberately establishing that about ourselves, that you won’t know what to expect.  For this album, we’re taking the strongest elements of the last two records and refining it a little bit.  And it’s a bigger sound.  I think we could play some really big rooms with this music.”

However, Easterling tells me that the intent with Orthodox has never been to put out the music that their fans want or expect: “The thing about this band is we don’t write records for anybody but ourselves.  Everything we do has been done because that’s what we wanted to do.  It’s hard to think of a way to say that that doesn’t sound pretentious [laughs], but we’d rather play to smaller crowds with stuff that we like, than play stuff we think is shit.”  But he does admit that it is likely the fans that the band has earned over nearly a decade that enables them to have this attitude toward their music: “The band itself has been around since 2012, but I don’t really count some of those years and we don’t play anything off of those EPs, but we got to do some really cool stuff back then and play with some of our favorite bands.  One of the coolest things about being around for all that time is that we don’t really have to worry about shows being good or bad, because there will be some people there that really like it.  We have a dedicated fanbase that have been seeing us for about a decade.”

Although they’ve been together for a few years, Adam tells me that “Body & Soul” has a special significance for the current iteration of Orthodox: “The first LP was written almost entirely by me and Tyler Williams, who now plays bass in Counterparts… 2018 was the first time we had the exact lineup we have now and ’Body & Soul’ was the first song we all collectively wrote together.”  Adam reveals during our chat that, although fans might not be able to get their hands on it for a while, their third album is done: “We just finished recording the third LP in August with Randy LeBoeuf, who did the Dying Wish record.  We’re hoping to have that our next summer or fall.”  He also tells me that anxious fans shouldn’t be expecting much of a preview on the band’s current dates: “We have taken some of the more laughably heavy parts and sprinkled them throughout the set, but we’re not playing any new songs, aside from ‘Body & Soul.’”  And when I ask what can be expected of Orthodox when they play Underground Arts and The First Unitarian Church he tells me, “We’ve arranged two separate setlists, although not entirely different songs.  We’ve got 30 minutes each night.  The one thing about us live is that we don’t like to give you a chance to catch your breath.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.