21 May 2013
Camden Underworld, London
“I can’t work out whether they are taking the piss”, offered a friend as Orchid churned out the rolling riffs of Eyes Behind The Wall. Named after a Black Sabbath instrumental, Orchid don’t hide their primary influence with frontman Theo Mindell even admitting in an interview, “I don't want to sound like anything else! I want to sound like Ozzy-era Sabbath…and Zeppelin…and early Pentagram.”
The latter two bands are far less blatant. Black Funeral is so indebted to Tony Iommi’s classic riffs you can’t help but grin when a familiar, but not directly ripped off, riff is nailed. The crowd certainly seem sold, with cheers following each song leading Mindell to joke, “It’s amazing you stay so happy in such a grey country.”
What the likes of Capricorn really devour from early Sabbath is that sense of groove and swing and if either of Orchid’s two album’s worth of material had surfaced as the new Black Sabbath album it would have been seen as a very respectable return. Who doesn’t want to hear a song “About a unicorn that has an octopus for a head”, which the monolithic Silent One is described as.
It’s the last night of Orchid’s tour tonight and whilst the band are in great spirits, Mindell seems happy to be heading home to San Francisco, “Seventeen men on a bus? No one wants to do that!”
The plod of He Who Walks Alone draws the main set to a conclusion, but Orchid are soon drawn back to the stage by the crowd to sign off with Saviours Of The Blind from last year’s Heretic EP. They may get knocked for wearing their influence so blatantly on their velvet sleeves, but when it’s this good it’s better to just turn on, tune in and drop out.
Son Of Misery / No One Makes A Sound / Eyes Behind The Wall / Mouths Of Madness / Black Funeral / Capricorn / Silent One / Eastern Woman / Wizard Of War / He Who Walks Alone / Saviours Of The Blind