Organized Chaos – Inner Conflict
Sometimes an album is so overwhelming at first glance that you’ll find yourself struggling even to make it through a song, let alone the whole album, as the music seems to keep changing its tone for absolutely no reason and ends up sounding like a random collection of clips thrown together with no coherency at all. Then, as you dig deeper, it’ll eventually reveal itself to you, and you’ll start to see how all the pieces fit together. The perfectly named Organized Chaos have delivered such an album with their debut, Inner Conflict, an album which does seem quite chaotic the first time you start it up.
Actually, I almost switched “Prejudice Idol” off within two minutes on my first listen because the initial voice over (loaded with profanity, so some may want to skip the first 45 seconds if possible) is very annoying. However, it’s followed by some very modern sounding riffs, weird somewhat core-ish screaming vocals, then a sudden twist to a melodic chorus with clean vocals, and the whole thing was making no sense to me at all. It only got more awkward as it went on, with a cheesy 80’s rock section, followed by equally cheesy keyboards, and then a part so ridiculous I can’t even describe it, and that’s all on the first song!. Needless to say, this is as far from accessible as the genre gets, and it may seem at first like the band is deliberately stopping you from becoming comfortable with the music.
My struggles continued throughout the first listen. Every time I thought I had reached a more “normal” song, the band would throw in some weird twist that really left me shaking my head. Then, about halfway through, I reached a point where I suddenly started getting used to it, and by the time I reached the end I was excited to go back and see what I’d discover the second time around. Several listens later, it’s still plagued by inconsistency, and it does seem like the band is a bit too weird, but it has finally clicked with me. I now find most of it quite interesting, sometimes even brilliant. That first song has actually become a favorite now, and it finally makes sense in a twisted way.
The vocals are initially about as welcoming as everything else. Lead vocalist Vladimir Lalić does pretty much everything, ranging from those crazy screams I mentioned, to more normal screams, very animated clean vocals, cheesy broadway style vocals, and yes, occasionally he does sing in a soft, calm voice. Actually, perhaps my only complaint with him can be found on songs like “Beacon of Hope”, where even on a very soft passage his vocals are very exaggerated, which kinda kills the melodies for me. I think this is unnecessary because his clean vocals are pretty good anyways. For the most part, Vladimir does a good job, and he’s obviously quite versatile. Probably too versatile for his own good. Keyboardist Marta Vlahović also provides supporting vocals on quite a few songs, and she does a great job as well, sounding powerful but with a sweet tone to her voice. Actually, I wouldn’t complain if she had sung all the softer passages on her own.
As far as craziness goes, the highlight has to be “Hey God!”, which opens with the type of keys you’d expect to hear coming from the speakers of a hockey rink. While it pretends to be somewhat normal and straight-forward for a little bit with an excellent chorus, it quickly proceeds to jump all over the place with ridiculously silly vocals, including a weird rap section. Too bad the lyrics were bugging me, as they deal with exactly what I don’t want to hear about in music. I won’t provide any examples, because it’s not even as much about the words as it is with the sarcastic tone in which they’re delivered. What should have been my favorite song on the album is instead hard for me to sit through because of this. “As Life Silences Us” is similar, except it’s angry, and even musically I thought it was fairly sloppy and tough to get through.
Speaking of favorite songs though, “La Sonrisa Eterna” is probably it, being the one song that isn’t completely insane. Instead, it’s a ballad sung entirely in Spanish by Marta, and she does an excellent job. This is actually why I said she should have sung all the softer sections, because she handles them far better on that song than Vladimir ever does. And back on the chaotic side we have ‘My Own Personal Garden of Sin”, which includes a cheesy broadway-inspired chorus that just keeps popping up out of nowhere to amuse me every time. The rest of song is also crazy though, and at the end of the title line Vladimir switches to some crazy screaming that makes no sense at all, but in an awesome way.
If making the most challenging and insane album possible was all music was about, Inner Conflict would be a masterpiece. As it is, I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites, but it certainly has enough variety to remain enjoyable the whole way through, with both the style and the tone changing constantly. Small elements from all kinds of different genres pop in and out, and what seems like a softer passage can instantly explode on you and go somewhere you never would have imagined. It certainly has its flaws, and probably tries to do a bit too much, but a lot of the time the album is very successful at what it tries to do, and when this happens it is quite impressive. The times where it misfires may seem really bad, but these parts are forgivable, and overall the songwriting is mostly quite good. Recommended for prog fans who don’t mind their music being somewhat insane.
Travis Green’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5