Hear Orange 9mm's New Remaster of Rare Final Album 'Pretend I'm Human' | Revolver

Hear Orange 9mm's New Remaster of Rare Final Album 'Pretend I'm Human'

NYC post-hardcore trailblazers releasing swan song on vinyl, digital and cassette for first time
Orange 9mm Press Ptah Hotep - tehuti images , Ptah Hotep/Tehuti Images
Orange 9mm
photograph by Ptah Hotep/Tehuti Images

The simplified story of Orange 9mm is a tale as old as time. Underground band gets big, members leave, creative intentions change, differences arise, band breaks up. However, there's another unique element to the history of the New York post-hardcore group — a long-lost album. Well, kind of. 

The band that Burn frontman Chaka Malik founded in 1994 quickly became key players in NYC's post-hardcore scene alongside Quicksand and Helmet. Although the group's run only lasted six years, their 1995 LP, Driver Not Included, and 1996 Atlantic Records follow-up, Tragic, immortalized them as essential fusionists of rap, punk and metal just before nu-metal had its commercial explosion at the end of the decade. 

However, by the time Orange 9mm began writing their next LP, the band's lineup had shifted and their sound pivoted opposite the direction of what was blowing onto radio. Pretend I'm Human, their third and final album, arrived in 1999 and featured a noticeably less heavy, though in many ways more musically forward-thinking, sonic approach. Songs like "Lifeless" and "Facelift" sound like a more cerebral version of Limp Bizkit's rap-centric nu-metal — the center of a Venn diagram between Helmet, Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine — while others such as "Dragons (You Know I love") and the seven-minute "Innocence" are reminiscent of contemporary art-rappers like clipping. and JPEGMAFIA.

For over 20 years, the album was only available via its original CD pressing, but now, Orange 9mm's swan song is being properly reissued on vinyl, cassette and digital, including its first-ever availability on streaming services. Along with these new formats, this version of Pretend I'm Human features remastered audio, fantastic new artwork and special packaging for the physical editions, finally doing justice to this hard-to-find gem. The album will be available everywhere later this week, but we're proud to be premiering its digital iteration in full below. 

"This is album is very important today as it deals with the individual, and how each one of us searches for, and assesses meaning," Malik says while reflecting on Pretend I'm Human. "This is both singular and collective. This conversation which occurs for each of us on both the inner and outer levels has only become more important in today's times. The lockdowns, the loss, the solitude, the missed friendships and family members who are integral bricks in our being have been missing, forcing us to question ourselves and our lives."

"We've had to temporarily, or in some cases permanently, replace these bricks," he continues. "Pretend I'm Human as a collection of songs reminds me of how I've had to find new strength and creative ways to maximize enjoyment in the creation of my reality during troubling times."

Pretend I'm Human will hit all streaming platforms this Friday June 18th via Thirty Something Records. U.S. buyers can scoop the album on vinyl/cassette via Rev and Deathwish