Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blackened Swarms Of Sorrow

Orchid – Sign Of The Witch

Nuclear Blast Records – 2015

Muthas, San Francisco doomsters Orchid are back with their fifth (!) EP and, as per usual, it’s a superb mini-collection of 70s-inspired metal.  Most people think of EPs as being throwaways or stop-gaps, but Orchid’s are just as good as their LPs.  They assemble all of their recordings with great care regardless of the length which is not usually the case with other bands.  I love these shorter musical statements and I wish more bands would embrace the format, but I doubt they are very lucrative financially.   

Here’s a breakdown of the tracks:

“Helicopters” – Starts the album off with a crash and follows with a sense of impending destruction that permeates the rest of the song. Lyrically it’s about a village that’s being attacked, most likely during the Vietnam War.   It’s a very good track and reminds me a bit of “War Pigs.”

"John The Tiger" – The song is a perfect example of how Orchid truly understands one facet of Sabbath’s music that’s frequently missing from other doom bands – sometimes you just gotta swing!  This is definitely a toe-tapper and one of the highlights of the EP.  Killer!

"Under The Sign Of The Witch" – The lead single/video is a prototypical Orchid song, which means it recalls the glory of the Sabs without exactly copying any one particular song.  A massive drum sound is coupled with an excellent chorus that will get stuck in your brain for hours.  You’ve been warned!  Check out the video below:

"Strange Winds" – The last cut is a mystical, ethereal ballad that features a creepy 60s style organ sound that compliments and enhances the atmosphere of the song.  Orchid always excels at these ballads – e.g., “Falling Away” – and this one is no exception. 

One of the reasons that Orchid is one of my favorite bands is they understand the importance of cover art, fonts and layout.  They’ve got a very good sense of aesthetics and this time it’s exemplified by the 3d cover art on the EP, the cool fonts on the cover and spine, and the use of Bruegel’s The Triumph of Death for center labels and on the back cover.  Kudos fellas!


The Bottom Line:  Sign Of The Witch is another excellent EP and it’s certainly worth your bucks.  If you’ve never purchased anything by Orchid, this is a great place to start as it’s a good overview of what they have to offer.  Check it out.


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