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'The Zodiac Sessions'
(Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: 15th November 2013

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Orchid are a doom metal band from San Francisco who have had enough success for Nuclear Blast to want to release their early work, namely their first EP and first full album together on one disc.

The basic premise of doom metal to me is that you should take the first four Black Sabbath albums as the template for what music should be like and go from there. While this can be a bit limiting in style the likes of Candlemass, Swallow The Sun and Moonsorrow have taken that basic idea and fleshed it out to carve their own epic heavy styles.

Orchid on the other hand judging by this collection of their work seem to believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and do their best to sound EXACTLY like early Sabbath.

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They are actually very good at it and I enjoy the '70s vibe the album has but it has left me wondering about where the lines are in this debate. Where does showing your influences turn into plagiarism and maybe into tribute band land? Let's not be snooty about this as there is nothing really new to hear any more, it's all been done before and you can hear thousands of bands who sound like Maiden or Metallica with a trawl through YouTube.

However you could take just about any track here and put it on 'Paranoid' or 'Master Of The Universe' and it wouldn't sound out of place outside of the vocals being an octave lower. There are no direct rip-offs of specific Sabs songs, 'Black Funeral' sounds like the song 'Black Sabbath' in places and 'Down Into The Earth' has an 'NIB' like bass line but Orchid seem to have worked hard to sound like early Sabs but with their own mostly slightly inferior songs.

Verdict: This album left me slightly non-plussed, It has a nice doom/stoner vibe and grooves along nicely but it is so much a Sabbath style album I found it hard to take seriously.

This is the band's early material so maybe they are finding a more individual take on the genre now and another thing to think about is I am old enough to remember the original Sabbath albums.

All I can suggest is that if you like early Sabbath or don't know what that sounds like then give this album a listen and make your own mind up.

Orchid are:
Theo Mindell (Vocals)
Carter Kennedy (Drums)
Mark Thomas Baker (Guitar)
Keith Nickel (Bass

1. Eyes Behind The Wall
2. Capricorn
3. Black Funeral
4. Masters Of It All
5. Down Into The Earth
6. He Who Walks Alone
7. Cosmonaut Of Three
8. Electric Father
9. Albatross

'Through The Devil's Doorway'
10. Into The Sun
11. Eastern Woman
12. Son Of Misery
13. No One Makes A Sound


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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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