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The Mouths Of Madness is the second album from San Fransico doom rockers Orchid, formed in 2007. As the band name and album cover might suggest, these guys are heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and although this kind of band is right up my alley, this was actually the first time I listened to Orchid. They quickly turned out to be a pleasant acquaintance.
Strong riffs, a tight rhythm section and psychedelic background guitar passages are the first things that come to mind when trying to describe how the album sounds. Theo Mindell’s voice bears some resemblance to Blackie Lawless’ and while W.A.S.P. isn’t the first band that comes to mind when thinking of doom metal and stoner rock, his voice fits the music perfectly. The production is spot-on, guiding the listener’s thoughts to the sound of Master Of Reality while still sounding modern.
There really are no weak tracks on this album. Naming a few favourites, the intense title track with its addicting riff is a no-brainer. The slow and heavy Nomad is another great song that would probably be great live, in between two faster songs, such as Leaving It All Behind and See You On The Other Side. Some of the similarities to Sabbath throughout the album might be cutting a little too close - I hear small resemblances to songs such as N.I.B., A National Acrobat and Children Of The Sea, and the main riff in Loving Hand Of God comes directly from After Forever. But as someone once said - “Tony Iommi has already written every metal riff in existence” - so I guess it’s pretty hard for any metal band not to rip off Black Sabbath.
I realize I’ve done a lot of comparisons to Sabbath in this review but it’s kind of hard not to, and in many ways this is actually how I would want the coming Black Sabbath album to sound although I have little hope that it will be as good as The Mouths Of Madness. Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a copycat record - Orchid has a distinct identity of their own and this is a really good album that deserves a lot of attention. Check it out.
Originally written for www.metalcovenant.com