San Francisco Doom merchants deliver another slab of Retro magic.
One thing you can say about Doom is that it never has and never will go out of fashion, unlike certain other sub-genres of Metal I could mention, Grunge being the obvious. Of course, all things evolve and develope as time goes by but the core basics and values of Doom remain constant. Weighty, rumbling riffs, matched with a hard hitting drum sound and lyrics that deal with the less desirable subjects and passages of life.
Orchid, hailing from San Francisco, know just how to get the balance of retro and current bang on. Yes (we may as well get it out of the way) they sound like early 70’s Black Sabbath but is that in any shape or form a bad thing? Don’t all of today’s superstars and wannabes owe their existence and sound to the pioneers of this thing called Metal that we all love dearly?
‘The Mouths Of Madness’ without question draws heavily on Ozzy era Sabbath, in particular the ’Vol 4’ period, damn it, even the cover looks similar but where the band manage to mark the box with a big fat tick is in the fact that they succeed in maintaining a very high level of originality within the framework they have built for themselves. The voice of Theo Mindell manages to avoid being a complete rip off of Mr Osbourne, although the influence is more than apparent and Mark Thomas Baker’s guitar work incorporates enough twists and turns not to be totally Tony. The album has a very balanced feel throughout, from the dark and heavy riffs of the title track and ’Marching Dogs Of War’ to the more trippy vibe of ’Nomad’ with its Floydesque meanderings, it’s an album that really is very hard to find fault with.
The appeal of this record is not just in the Retro element, although that does seem to be the flavour of the month, looking back is the new looking forward and all that. No, the appeal for me anyway, as a devotee of Doom, is in the fact that it opens the genre up to a much wider audience than many similar releases, you don’t have to be all sombre and participate in ritual sacrifices to like this album, I’m not (well apart from the sacrificing bit). Embrace the album for what it is, a musical homage to the past with a forward thinking slant.
Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.
Theo Mindell – Vocals
Mark Thomas Baker – Guitar
Keith Nickel – Bass
Carter Kennedy – Drums
‘The Mouths Of Madness’ is released through Nuclear Blast on the 29th of April.