San Francisco's Orchid make no bones about their worship for Black Sabbath, and this new EP Sign of the Witch gives their growing fanbase 4 songs and just under 20 minutes of glorious Master of Reality and Vol. 4 inspired doom. While it's nothing new for a young band to go the retro route these days and play homage to the great hard rock acts of the '70s, Orchid have perfected the early Sabbath sound over the course of a few albums, and their leather & jeans look also plays right into the part. These four songs on display here kick some serious ass, starting off with the bruising "Helicopters", as rumbling bass courtesy of Keith Nickel gives way to Theo Mindell's snarling vocal and Mark Thomas Baker's sinister riffs. It's dark, it's heavy, and quite delicious. The more upbeat "John the Tiger" follows, and it's a wild workout for Baker's blues-metal guitar thunder, with Nickel & Carter Kennedy shuffling underneath as the band settles into a groove not unlike a distant cousin to Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots". Just when you thought things couldn't get any better, in comes the steamrolling title track, a monster of a crushing doom metal tune featuring some massive dinosaur riffs and grooves, as Mindell strains & screams like a young Ozzy. This is sure to become a fan favorite and I can just imagine it settling into their live set just fine. The EP closes out with the psychedelic "Strange Winds", as creepy organ and lilting guitar chords create a haunting mood, punctuated by Mindell's chilling, effects laden vocals.
This is great stuff, and unfortunately it's over before you know it, and you'll be left wanting more, much more. Hopefully Sign of the Witch is just a short stopgap till the bands next full length album, which I'm sure for their fans, can't come soon enough.
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2) John the Tiger
3) Sign of the Witch
4) Strange Winds