Codex Orzhova
Baja Blasted

Baltimore’s Codex Orzhova are a highly original act.  Whether you want to call them mathcore, deathgrind, Nintendocore, Robotron/Defender grind noise, I feel Baja Blasted is the most original album for 2020.  The band released a self-titled album 2 years ago, however this album contains some of those songs and I am unsure if that first release is more of a demo compilation.  Regardless Baja Blasted is ridiculously off the wall and I mean that in the highest of compliments.

Anshuman Goswami, who is the vocalist for the incredible Wormhole plays guitars/bass with Codex Orzhova, Ryan Dunn on vocals/synth and Adam Smith on drums.  10 songs and it’s a very short album, but who gives a crap.  “Programmed to Die” starts with some awesome sound effects as it builds louder to a monstrous mid-paced crunch with tons of effects and an incredible growl as Ryan begins to doing some screamo vocals mixed with the gutturals.  The sound effects really add to the expansive nature and interesting mood this creates.  Before you know it it’s over.  So this is more of an intro type song before “E.V.I.L.” comes in and is punishing.  Just monstrous in nature and a bit of a djent stop n start approach.  The mid-section sounds as if I am in the middle of a video game pitting robotron vs. the defender spaceship, before the faster section comes in, and then the song trails off rather weirdly.

“Set Yourself on Fire” starts with pure death metal punishing vocals and screaming vocals and the sound effects are isolated for a bit before the guitar comes in taking us to a nice groove part.  Once live shows start happening again the band has to play this song live.  This part will plaster bodies all over the walls and floors.  The song picks up the pace with the faster blasting and sound effects and then some terrific guttural and pig snorting grunts.  Very effective.  “Sword of a Fool” again has an interesting opening before more of the hardcore type vocals come in as the weird computer game type sounds almost emulate carnival music, in a way.  More start and stop type of death crunch bashing and some great drumming.  Christ almighty my head is spinning-so many sounds and musical arrangements going on all at once.

The title track has awesome opening synth stylized sound effects before the beatdown moment erupts and it’s beatdown worthy before the blasting comes in and the screaming vocals come in all the while the guitars are super heavy and are just collapsing chest cavities everywhere.  Some nice well-placed spacey-techcore type of moment towards the end of the song makes this a winner.  “A Thing About Machines” ends this eclectic brutal affair with lots of sound effects, brutal signature time changes and nice bass guitar plucking.  Confusing an oft-kilter time changes will keep you on your feet all damn day.  Whirlwind grind blasts erupt at certain moments as well as the song then closes out Baja Blasted.

Rob Wharton, my buddy from Cognitive, was trying to see if I would review this album.  He was hesitant because he was unsure if this type of music would appeal to me.  I informed him I am an open book, and while I definitely have my genre proclivities, like everyone else, I said hey that sounds kind of neat, please send it along to me.  Thank you Rob, I really appreciate the recommendation because Codex Orzhova are weird as shit-I am not going to lie, but Christ almighty I cannot get enough of this highly original album.  It all works.  Computer game sound effects, creative musicianship and a variety of time changes and vocal patterns really makes this one of the most original albums I have ever heard.  If you like out of the box type of bands with elements of djent, death metal, grind, industrial, hardcore, 80’s videogames sound effects all wrapped up in a non-linear mindfuck of an album this is for you.

Beyond original, fabulously played and as I previously stated beyond creative Codex Orzhova’s Baja Blasted is a must have in my book.  Please like their FB page, check ‘em out on Bandcamp and Buy or Die!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 22nd, 2020

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik T

    Insteresting stuff, sort of Genghis Tron, Horse the band vibe.


  2. Commented by: Steve K

    This is super fun! Definitely got that Horse The Band vibe – and definitely getting that early Dillinger/The End mathcore vibe as well. Chaotic as hell! Great review.


  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    Thx for reading and the review compliments. I love off the wall music. These guys bring it.


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