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Another act in the catalogue of bands reviving the 'forgotten' analogue sounds of yore, Californian hipsters Orchid have released the EP "Wizard of War" in short advance of their upcoming second LP, "The Mouths of Madness". No doubt named from the Black Sabbath song from their classic "Master Of Reality", Orchid retain the groovy doom-rock vibe of that era in blending the quintessential sounds of that Brummie quartet with more than healthy dollop of Pentagram and on the basis of these three songs (albeit one culled from debut LP "Capricorn") they have done it superbly.
The title track which opens is the up-tempo number of the trio, rolling off a glorious bass sound and earthly production that virtually bleeds the smell of weed into my room through a feel of "Paranoid"-esque simplicity. Breaking the lead driving riff only briefly in it's second half for some psychedelic soloing and Theo Mindell's vocal patterns, which retain an a perfect approximation between Ozzy and Bobby Liebling, gives it a great chance of being a fantastic live song. "Demon's Eyes" is more restrained in taking the time to build to small crescendos off the more prominent drum rolls before "Albatross" is the "Spirit Caravan" of the three. The closer on "Capricorn" as well, its concluding position in both is no coincidence for it possesses a slender, tranquil tone: spacey moog synth, soft drumming and bass sound to get lost in it's myriad depths and subtly close out a release.
Cynicism may abound from some that the likes of Nuclear Blast are signing up these heritage acts given their recent past in peddling the most polished and emotionless of extreme metal bands but for every Orchid who may teach a younger metal fan of today that digitised production values are NOT the only way to be then I consider their existence a very worthwhile virtue. Here's hoping the new LP will be just as good.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net