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May 21

Orchid – The Mouths of Madness (2013)

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Orchid has been making some waves in this whole old school revival movement. After putting out an EP and LP on indie doom label The Church Within Records, Nuclear Blast snapped them up quickly. This album is their first full length for the label, and with the old school revival movement picking up steam (and with older bands finally getting noticed) Orchid now has a real fight on their hands. Do they succeed?

This record is a bit different from most others in this field. While many people in this genre focus on more upbeat sounding songs, this record definitely goes the way of Black Sabbath and plays it slow and low. I feel out of all of the bands that are classified as “stoner metal” that sound old school, this is the closest to that. Furthermore, with tracks focusing on the longer end of things (say 5-8 minutes) it lets them flesh out the songs more. They certainly utilize that, with tracks like Silent one going from a very Black Sabbath-esque start to a jam part then to this part with an organ that just sounds fucking evil. ‘Mountains of Steel‘ has this piano part near the end that sounds just so jazzy. I fucking love it.

I enjoy how the vocalist isn’t too dominant either. The music here takes center stage. That isn’t to say that vocalist Theo Mindell is bad – he most certainly is not, and I enjoy his vocal range from harsh highs to mellow lows – but in this case for getting stoned to a record it does well. There’s more than enough flavor here to enjoy both headbanging and just hanging out. Some of the earlier songs are a bit filler-ish. However, as the record gets on, the band definitely gets a lot more creative, starting from around ‘Mountains of Steel‘ on. ‘Leaving It All Behind‘ is just such a good anthem. ‘Wizard of War‘ is the heaviest song on this record, and also its shortest – clocking in at only 3 minutes and 18 seconds. The production sounds a bit different from the songs on this record, but it’s cool to see a band branch out like this on the same record while still remaining on the same identity they are trying to establish on the record.

Overall, this is a good record to tide you over until the next Black Sabbath record comes out. I think many of our readers will enjoy this a bit more than some of the other old-school acts that have come out. Even though it does get a bit stale, don’t necessarily let that deter you from listening: it’s still solid metal. I will simplify it this way: if you’re a Sabbath fan you’ll enjoy it. If you enjoy some piano with your stoner metal (WHY WOULDN’T YOU), you’ll definitely enjoy it. But if you’re looking for something a bit faster, you might not enjoy all of it.

Tracklist:

1. Mouths of Madness
2. Marching Dogs of War
3. Silent One
4. Nomad
5. Mountains of Steel
6. Leaving It All Behind
7. Loving Hand of God
8. Wizard of War
9. See You on the Other Sice

Genre: Old School Revival/Stoner Metal

Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Playing Time: 56 minutes

Line-Up:

Theo Mindell: Vocals
Carter Kennedy: Drums
Mark Thomas Baker: Guitar
Keith Nickel: Bass

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/orchidsf
http://nuclearblastusa.bigcartel.com/

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