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Orchid: The Mouths Of Madness

There’s always doom at the top.

If you want to know what makes San Francisco’s magnificently doomy Orchid tick, then look no further than the first four Sabbath albums – pounding drum violence – check. Earth-rumbling bass frequencies – check. Riffs blacker than Satan’s malevolent heart – check.

It’s only in Theo Mindell’s rasping growl – much more belligerent than early Ozzy – that they differ, and even then it ain’t by much. Of course, such close identification with the classic Sabs sound would mean absolutely nothing if they didn’t have the songs to match, and fortunately they do.

Admittedly, more than a few times – Silent Ones, Nomad, Wizard Of War, to name but three – you might find yourself looking at the tracklisting just to check that what you’re listening to isn’t actually a cover version, but there’s enough swaggering confidence and trippy grooviness to set The Mouths Of Madness apart.

The piano-driven mellow middle section of Mountains Of Steel and smouldering bluesy build-up of Loving Hand Of God are just two instances where Orchid follow their own path. More departures from the expected would pay even greater dividends.