Hailing from Canada, Sonic Orchid is a melodic rock band which mixes a variety of styles to produce a rather eclectic sound and, sometimes, confused direction. After listening to 'Love & War' several times, I was not sure what Sonic Orchid was going for in their own sound. On 'Fight For Your Right,' a number equally reaching into melodic hard rock and heavy metal riffs, lead vocalist Christine Gasparic tries her best to scream like a true metal goddess with little positive appeal. Then on the next song, 'Last Time Again,' Sonic Orchid drifts to basic melodic rock which staggers between pop rock and AOR. To confuse matters even more, 'Liar' follows and again Sonic Orchid returns to the hard rock/metal motif. This time Ms. Gaparic tries her hand at some brief, but disappointing (as always), dirty vocals. Now, I'm beginning to wonder what transpired in the creative process. It appears that these four musicians basically said, 'Let's try a little bit of everything and see what happens.' Generally, it takes a fromidable amount of talent and a truckload of hutzpah to pull that off well. Otherwise, a band merely becomes a 'jack of all trades and a master of none.' But I digress.
'Hold On' follows next and so we are back again to melodic rock. This is the second best track on album: a strong melodic composition with steady vocals, intriguing keys, and versatile guitar work. 'Chaos' finds Ms. Gasparic trying her metal scream again, and again, to no avail; at this point, it's time to give it up. Aside from that, it's another great melodic rock song with a speedier tempo and strong riffs: I liked it. 'Just Need Time' is another fine melodic hard rock number where the rhythm section shines and the guitar work displays Bard Evanochko's exceptional skill. The next two numbers repeat the melodic rock motif. First, it appears in the form of a ballad on 'Without You' where Gasparic truly excels. It's her finest moment and it's the best cut on the whole disc: it has hit single written all over it. Secondly, on 'Take Care Of You' Sonic Orchid simply nails the melodic rock, plain and simple. Finally, 'Love & War' concludes with an AOR-like ballad 'Alive Again,' a pleasing finish.
Honestly, Sonic Orchid sounds best when they travel the road of melodic rock. They sound more than a bit disingenous when they venture into the metal motif and Ms. Gasparic is encouraged to strain her lungs in a metal scream. Yet, overall, I found 'Love & War' to be solid effort: eclectic but enjoyable. Recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Sonic Orchid sounds like a band in search of direction. Generally, 'Love & War' is solid melodic rock. But they have a tendency to venture into territories that are not that well suited for them. When they do, they digress and diminish. Otherwise, when pursuing the melodic rock, Sonic Orchid has a boatload of talent and strong potential.