It doesn’t seem that long ago that “Grease” was the word. In fact it was the word right around the time that Black Sabbath were threatening to implode and spilled Ozzy out of the band and out of the back-end of the crest of a tsunami they’d been riding since their début. And then came the 80’s, a decade where every man, woman and child involved in rock and metal tried to distance themselves from the fuzzy, darkness of the Sabbath sound. The 90’s ushered back in a reverence for Sabbath and Zeppelin through the scuzz of grunge, before the nau/oughties eschewed the doom in favour of clinical metal(core) once more.
And so we find ourselves mid-way through another cycle, one where the Hand of Doom is not just welcomed, but feverishly worshipped and celebrated by the cult, the kvlt and the cunt alike. And here sit Kirk Hammett’s favourite occult doom quartet Orchid on their fourth EP, Sign of the Witch (Nuclear Blast) a four-track stop gap en-route to their third album. With bell-bottomed production values deeply steeped in the seventies, this is a warm EP of 70’s fuzzy doom.
The issue is that, while this is lovingly crafted and the first two tracks in particular are decent songs, Orchid are so close to being a Sabbath tribute band that Tony and the boys may be getting their copyright lawyers on the case. Theo Mindell warmly apes Mr Osborne, while Keith Nickel’s fuzzy, wandering basslines are pure Geezer worship.
Despite a strong start, matters lose impetus, meandering off down the blandest of paths with ‘Strange Winds’. There is a multitude who have taken the works of Sabbath and created many varied and beautiful things. Orchid have slavishly recreated the works of the masters, but without the requisitve song-writing skill.