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Orchid: The Mouths Of Madness

Album Review

SanFran doomsters dine at Sabbath’s table once more

This San Franciscan retro doom quartet thoroughly ransacked the Sabbath songbook on their 2011 debut album Capricorn, albeit with considerable style. Like a burglar who leaves a box of chocolates on your empty dresser rather than a turd, it was an almost respectful raid.

The follow-up, although no less blatant in its pilfering, offers a smidgen more individuality and is even more stylish and sophisticated. Even as guitarist Mark Thomas Baker and bassist Keith Nickel become possessed by the spirits of Iommi and Butler, ploughing their way through every Ozzy-era album in search of sustenance, it’s difficult to dislike the ensuing rumble of familiar-sounding riffs.

At least vocalist Theo Mindell doesn’t sound exactly like Ozzy, although amid a torrent of tolling bells and air raid sirens, he conjures a similar strain of apocalyptic imagery. But if being heavily influenced by Sabbath was a crime, heavy metal would still just be a loosely defined subset of chemical elements.

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