Orchid – Miasma

Despite a heavy music scene that is abundant in talent, not many of India’s Metal bands have appeared on the radar outside of their native country. Aside from the likes of Demonic Resurrection especially, Bhayanak Maut and (although more an international band) Skyharbor, India’s Metal scene is still a hidden entity to many on the outside. With a formidable live presence and with an exciting debut full length in Miasma (self-released), if there is any justice, Mathcore mentalists Orchid should be poised to be the scene’s next breakout.

Orchid’s sound can be best described as abstract as it throws in so many varied ideas and styles that shouldn’t flow together, and, to be honest, don’t always do so, but Miasma has a chaotic but exhilarating feel as a result. Its range of scattershot ideas and striking sonic contrasts means this album rarely settles, and on first listen at least will confound on numerous occasions.

Album opener ‘Obsolescence’, for example, offers an intense, almost Djent-like sound and aggression which veers into a smooth Lounge Jazz interlude before ramping up the pace yet again with a blast-beats section. ‘Master Supreme’ is a short and venomous stab at religion in their home nation, which also contains an infectious bounciness, whilst the following ‘Dead End’ once again splits heavier passages with a hypnotic bridge which invokes the psychedelia of Hawkwind with complex yet catchy Jazz mixed with Progressive Rock.

Miasma is rammed with ideas throughout its play time, and they aren’t necessarily blended together, rather they are intended to stand out and be as vivid as possible. The first couple of listens will perhaps prove perplexing, but it does prove somewhat accessible afterwards with plenty of hooks to latch on to.

Orchid are a tricky proposition to market with such a plethora of styles and influences at work, but Miasma manages to pull them all off very well and actually benefits from a frantic, ever-fluid nature. As intense as it is complex, Miasma is an album that takes time to fully appreciate and begin to grasp everything it aims for, but when allowed breathing room, proves a rich and rewarding experience.

7 / 10

CHRIS TIPPELL