Orchid’s Curse leave mark on metal scene

Josh Hogan could arguably be one of the busiest people within the Halifax music scene.

In addition to running one of the region’s most prolific heavy metal record labels, (Diminshed Fifth Records, home to Moncton’s Iron Giant among other New Brunswick acts such as We, The Undersigned), Hogan and his band Orchid’s Curse are taking to the road to promote their newest record, Voices: The Tales Of Broken Men.

The band performs at The Manhattan in Moncton tonight with Manlord and Death Valley Driver.

Released in late September, the record calls to mind of the music of Pantera; the band’s remarkable technical proficiency helping add another shining example of why the heavy metal scene in the Maritimes might be one the country’s best kept secrets.

Formed in 2005, Hogan had initially chatted up his future band mates at a local record shop one day. Having identified they shared common musical ground, Hogan was asked if he could sing:

“God no! Why?” Hogan recalls being his initial reaction. “But then they explained that they were in a band and it really piqued my interest. I ended up auditioning for the band as a vocalist and was welcomed on board at that point.”

Recorded over a number of weekend sessions at the Halifax’s SoundMarket Studio with engineer Robert Corrigan, Hogan says the band’s first time experience in a recording studio was a positive one.

“Making the record took approximately five full weekends to complete. Rob was a pleasure to work with through the whole experience.

“In addition to being a great engineer, he also added some touches of mellotron onto a few songs on the record for us.”

After having lived through a relatively busy summer leading up to the release of their new record, Orchid’s Curse had the opportunity to play alongside some higher profile heavy metal acts including Beneath The Massacre and Ion Dissonance. Slots such as those are crucial to the band’s manifesto of winning over new fans at every opportunity.

The response given to Voices has been positive thus far. In addition to having scored overwhelmingly positive reviews, their record vaulted up the Canadian campus/community radio loud/heavy-metal charts to land at the number 10 position for the month of October.

Juggling the responsibilities of a day job and a record label with those of a band might not come easy to some, however for Hogan, it seems to be second nature.

“Over the years I’ve become quite good with balancing my time and responsibilities but it has definitely been a little extra hectic this summer and fall.

“For years Orchid’s Curse laid moderately dormant but with the new release we’ve been going full steam ahead with no end in sight,” he says.

In Hogan’s opinion, the heavy-metal scene in Atlantic Canada, in which he plays a big role, continues to be a vibrant community despite being on the outer fringes of mainstream acceptance.

“I think the heavy metal scene in Atlantic Canada will continue to get stronger too,” he says. “You have bands like Hellacaust who just celebrated their 10th anniversary while bands like Black Moor and Gallactus recently had songs placed in the Space Network’s series ‘Todd and the Book of Pure Evil’.

“Iron Giant had the opportunity to open for Marilyn Manson last year; Broken Ohms played with everyone from Helix to Trooper while Last Call Chernobyl played a dozen dates on the hugely popular and influential Warped Tour throughout the United States.”

In addition to the regional success stories, Hogan says Maritime tour stops by bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Lamb Of God and Gwar only help to fan the heavy-metal flames that have burned in smaller circles in years past.

He feels that the acceptance of heavy metal as a viable genre has rarely been better in the Atlantic region with organizations such as Music New Brunswick and the East Coast Music Awards all recognizing the genre in their respective annual awards.

And while Orchid’s Curse will surely continue to play an important role in the ongoing heavy-metal story in Atlantic Canada, he says that the winter months will be relatively quiet ones but that fans need not worry about it taking a while to follow up Voices.

“Aside from some shows this month, we are going to be hibernating in our jam space and writing new material. We have a shared upcoming release that we are really looking forward to getting to work on with the hopes that it will see the light of day next summer or early fall.

“We hope to play some shows through the Maritimes in March and will probably add getting to Quebec and Ontario to our plans next summer as well,” he says.

The lack of immediate activity for the band doesn’t seem to weigh heavily on Hogan’s mind. Looking forward while still taking in the present seems to be the norm for him.

“The band has never felt stronger or more cohesive then we are currently.”

Article published in November 12, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript

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