Having never heard of the band Orchid before, I picked them to review on a whim. What made me pick them, was their name, Orchid. There has to some sort of Black Sabbath influence there, so how could I go wrong? I have to say I nailed it on that one! These guys not only sound like Sabbath but they really embody 70’s heavy classic rock not only in sound, but style as well.
Now this version of Orchid hails from San Francisco, but not to be confused with the screamo band from Massachusetts with the same name. They are all about traditional doom metal with a heavy, and I mean heavy, influence from Black Sabbath. They were formed in 2007 and so far have released 2 EPs and 2 LPs. Due to the popularity of their first EP, The Devil’s Doorway and Capricorn, their first full length effort, they were picked up by the much bigger distributed record label, Nuclear Blast. Their first release for Nuclear Blast was the EP Heretic in 2012, which was a taster for this year’s full length release, The Mouths of Madness. The band is comprised of Theo Mindell on vocals, Carter Kennedy drums, Mark Thomas Baker guitar, and Keith Nickel on bass.
As for the album, if you are looking for originality you are going to be hard pressed to find it here. When I said they were heavily influenced by Sabbath, I meant it. “Marching Dogs of War” think “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, “Silent One” think “Lord of This World”, “Leaving It All Behind” think “After Forever”so forth and so on. Hey, you know what you are going to get with these guys, and since Black Sabbath is one of the greatest bands of all time, who can blame them for wanting to sound like that? With that being said, some of these sounds are really similar. To me, the best song on the album is “Mouths of Madness”. I like the opening chord progression and this song has one of the album’s best solos. Another cool thing about this album is that the band uses a lot of different instruments. There’s piano on “Mountains of Steel”, you get harmonica on “Marching Dogs of War”, and I do believe I hear cowbell on “Mouths of Madness”. The band also does a good job with time changes. This is especially true of the album’s epic closer “See You On the Other Side”.
Overall, if you are in a 70’s metal mood, Orchid’s Mouths of Madness is for you. If you are looking for ground breaking, inventive traditional doom metal you need to look elsewhere.