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Sign of the Witch EP
Release Date: July 17, 2015
I’m stoked to see Orchid back on the attack as The Mouths of Madness was such a spectacular rock fest. Sign of the Witch is their brand new EP, featuring four songs very much in the vein of The Mouths of Madness, that is to say, doomy, vibey, and making you feel like you are sitting in a dank, door beaded, basement while watching the band perform through a haze of smoke.
“Helicopters’ opens the EP with a high energy frolic through Black Sabbath’s best years. The song slowly builds itself from a sparse, haunting commentary into a full on rock assault that you want to immediately listen to again. “John the Tiger” is a more straightforward affair that focuses on the groove in a sort of Thin Lizzy way. I love the drumming on this song, the fills are an absolutely perfect complement to the dynamic guitar and vocal work. It shifts from heavy to sparse flawlessly, I just wish that the lyrics were a little more on par with their other work.
The title track is up next and it absolutely wails. The production makes it sound a little more psychedelic than the other tracks. Of all the tracks, this one reminds me the most of the last album. The band go gonzo here with rhythms that constantly circle you, never stopping, fuzzy guitars that groove for awhile but aren’t afraid to jump up and grab you with short lead parts here and there, and impressively dynamic vocals that would make both young Ozzy and Robert Plant jealous. “Strange Winds” closes out the EP and is the most aptly named of the tunes here. It’s got a slow and mystical feel to it that is otherworldly for sure. It’s a beautiful tune where the soulful vocals string along off beat rhythms and sparse guitar repetitions. It’s pretty mesmerizing stuff.
For my money, Orchid are one of the best Rock and Roll Revivalist bands out there. If you are looking for a point of reference, they lean closer to Scorpion Child or Electric Wizard than they do Rival Sons or Archer. It’s the seventies style, hazy production here that really moves me though. It takes their music to a whole other place. Is it derivative? Sure. Is it still the best Rock and Roll you are likely to hear this year? Definitely.
Reviewed by Mark Fisher