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Orgy 

Vapor Transmission (Reprise)

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On its second album, the L.A.-based neo-goth act Orgy cops that creepy feeling used by Marilyn Manson and other metal maniacs who bitch about the state of the world while doing very little to make it any better. The band also offers up a whole lotta mumbo jumbo about creating a new religion and so forth. This has all been heard before, and even the glossy finish Orgy and producer Josh Abraham apply can't make it any more interesting. Coming off the surprise success of the platinum-selling Candyass (thanks to its cover of New Order's "Blue Monday"), Orgy does the right thing here: By stuffing itself with pseudo-cryptic musings and glam-inspired words of wisdom, the band has managed, in a way, to turn Vapor Transmission into a modern manifesto on post-millennium living, specifically in its hometown. And you can bet every city-of-angels/alone-in-a-crowd cliché is hauled out here, as are standard musical foundations. The industrial landscapes harshly painted here -- in shades of loud, clangy, and "dark"-- are obvious ones, and the metal-goth hybrid Orgy lays down really sounds like nothing more than a Mechanical Animals retread, which took its space-age rock star motif to more exhilarating places.

Singer Jay Gordon adapts the low, deadened baritone that began with Bowie at his most pretentious and has been co-opted by every self-aware, post-ironic vocalist since. Vapor Transmission is filled with such Ziggy-esque themes as alienation and even uses an outer-space metaphor to drive home its point. The instrumental title tune cuts into Nine Inch Nails territory, working the electronic gizmos overtime to enhance the album's cyberspace/cityscape setting. More typical is "Fiction (Dreams in Digital)," a hooky neo-metal offering on modern times. It's loud, callous, brash, and a bit gloomy. Vapor Transmission pretty much sticks to that principle, and Orgy, living the high life, makes it droning policy.

More by Michael Gallucci

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