Order of Voices are a progressive rock band influenced by Tool and Alice in Chains. Formed in Sheffield in 2009, the quintet released their debut album two years later. They are a band who pride themselves on bringing something refreshing to progressive rock. There were a variety of influences on their debut, with a lot of textures, but they released their new album Constancy earlier this month. It’ll be interesting to see if they can expand their sound.
On a debut album, it’s easy for a band to pour all their emotion and experiences into it. However Constancy took Order of Voices six years to make, allowing time to expand their horizons. Although the album falls flat in places, it is still an enjoyable, accessible listen.
The opening two tracks, ‘Hand in Hand’ and ‘Long for Air’ show that Order of Voices want to push boundaries, as well as demonstrating that Leigh’s lead vocals have improved massively. He’s put a ton of emotion into these tracks in particular, while the harmonies result in an epic, atmospheric soundscape. These are brilliant pieces of songwriting and demonstrate the band’s willingness to experiment.
‘Raise a Glass’ is a calmer ballad. Despite the clear emotion in Leigh’s voice, it feels bland and forgettable. The harmonies and the needless guitar solo are buried in the mix, disrupting the flow of the record.
Despite this, Constancy turns into a fully formed beast from here. The rockier tracks may be polished and mature in sound, but they still retain a rawness and aggression. When ‘Diametric’ kicks in, the crashing guitars and the wall of noise created by the guitars bring a wave of heaviness, which doesn’t often let up. This works superbly, as the band seem much more comfortable rocking out while embracing their pop sensibilities, turning progressive rock on its head.
‘Speak Aloud’ is another song which prides itself on atmosphere, but the delay on the guitars and the creative electronic percussion keep things fresh. The reverb on Leigh’s haunting vocals make it feel like he’s communicating with a darker spirit: “If I speak aloud to the things I know / speak to the unknown”. This is followed by what sounds like a tribal drumbeat, leaving the listener intrigued for more. It’s an introduction to ‘Affirmation’, a mid-tempo track with soaring harmonies and some dark production on the vocals. The song structure is impressive, however the chorus is bland and weak: “I really love my little world / love my everything”.
The album progresses into a sea of big choruses. On ‘Shatterproof’. The pounding drums create a tense buildup, followed by a huge breakdown and a stunning vocal performance. It’s a strong end to an album that contains something for everyone, showing Order of Voices’ desire to reach a wider audience.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos