Hot off the Press

Orchid | Mouths of Madness

by Justin Gaines
– Senior Columnist/News Editor —

Orchid Mouths of MadnessAt this point we’re well into a new wave of old school heavy rock/stoner metal/doom metal/(insert your favorite term here) bands. It seems like legions of bearded heavy rockers are emerging from all corners of the globe to take up the classic early ‘70s Black Sabbath sound, but none of the European bands manages to channel Sabbath the way San Francisco’s Orchid does. Their latest full-length Mouths of Madness is probably more of an authentic Black Sabbath album than Sabbath’s own comeback 13 was.

Pop this disc into the CD player (or even better drop one of the limited color vinyl releases on your turntable) and it’s like a time machine right back to 1971. Everything about Mouths of Madness practically screams Master of Reality, even the cover artwork and band name. Mark Thomas Baker’s grooving riffs are completely infectious and pair perfectly with the heavy, steady rhythms Keith Nickel and Carter Kennedy lay down. For his part, vocalist Theo Mindell (wisely) opts not to imitate Ozzy Osbourne, sounding a bit more like Graveyard’s Joakim Nilsson.

Of course the downside to sounding so much like any other band, even one as influential as Black Sabbath, is that your own originality is harder to see. Sure the band throws some traces of Led Zeppelin and even Pink Floyd in the mix, but when you hear a song like “Marching Dogs of War” or especially “Leaving It All Behind” (which is almost a straight-up copy of “After Forever”) it’s impossible to see Orchid as anything but Sabbath worship. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends entirely on what you’re looking for out of the album. All nine of the songs on Mouths of Madness could fit right in with the songs on Masters of Reality, which says a lot about just how good these songs are.

Even if they don’t stray too far from the Black Sabbath sound, Orchid still plays this kind of music extremely well, and if you’re into the whole heavy rock sound Mouths of Madness is pretty much impossible to resist. This album is a must-have for fans of Witchcraft, Graveyard, Kadavar and the like, and it ought to more than satisfy any Black Sabbath fans who didn’t quite get what they were hoping for from 13. It will be interesting to see in the years ahead whether Orchid can further develop their sound, or if this is the familiar groove they’re going to stick with.

Genre: Stoner Rock, Doom Metal

Theo Mindell (v)
Mark Thomas Baker (g)
Keith Nickel (b)
Carter Kennedy (d)

Track Listing:
1. Mouths of Madness
2. Marching Dogs of War
3. Silent One
4. Nomad
5. Mountains of Steel
6. Leaving It All Behind
7. The Loving Hand of God
8. Wizard of War
9. See You On the Other Side

Label: Nuclear Blast


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10