Pretend I'm Human

Orange 9mm

(LP - Thirty Something #TSR 021)

Review by Steve Huey

Pretend I'm Human finds Orange 9mm gradually becoming a more traditional alt-metal band in its musical backing, even if Chaka Malik is still assuredly a rap-metal vocalist. And that's actually a bit of a problem, because even if Malik has a better lyrical flow than most rap-metal singers, the results tend to sound stiff and forced when there are no funky backing rhythms for him to play off of. Malik also has a tendency to imitate the self-conscious delivery of Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha, but even if the songs occasionally sound derivative, his lyrical anger is much more introspective and soul-searching, proving that his own vision is quite distinct. Still, despite their righteous anger and uncompromising stance, Rage still comes up with at least a few catchy riffs per album, and that's where Pretend I'm Human doesn't quite measure up to its influences -- since rap-metal isn't a melody-oriented style, the lack of memorable instrumental hooks can be wearisome over the course of the whole album if a listener finds that the unrelenting intensity isn't quite enough.