Actually, I had not expected such a killer release at the end of the year 2009, until I received ORCHID's debut 'Through the Devils Doorway'. It is truly almost incredible how well this four guys from San Francisco managed to recapture the spirit of early Black Sabbath. And the best thing is that they succeed in creating a fresh and vital sound, no matter how contradictory that may sound. One of the main reasons for this is the band's ability to write extremely powerful and catchy melodies. The first song 'Into the Sun' has a significant similarity to Sabbath's 'Children of the Grave', but it also recalls Trouble's self titled album from 1990. It soon becomes apparent that vocalist Theo Mindel is a charismatic frontman who knows how to deliver a great performance, but this also applies to the other guys. Guitarist Mark Thomas Baker has a full, round, vintage sound while the rhythm section, consisting of drummer Carter Kennedy and bassplayer Nickel, works like a fine tuned machine.
'Eastern Woman' starts with a short oriental theme, before the band dives into the next groove that swings and is heavy like a truckload of steel. There's as much feeling in Theo Mindel's vocals as there is in M.T. Baker's playing. Then comes 'Son Of Misery' and again we find ourselves deep in the territory of very early Black Sabbath. Nickel's bassline has one of those infectious grooves that'll have me humming it for a month and the expressive vocals give so much life and soul to this short track. Awesome. All this is already great, but then the song goes over into the heavy shuffle of 'No One Makes A Sound', and this tune has so much going on, it just kicks ass all over the place. The song's arrangement is goose bump cool, including a mellow middle section. This song makes me close my eyes and smile. 'Through The Devils Doorway' is the next excellent release from The Church Within Records and I bow my head to ORCHID for doing a superb job and making magic happen. I strongly recommend the MCD, no matter what kind of rock you're into. You will not be disappointed. At least, I hope so.