By Earthdog

That time has arrived... finally ,one of the most anticipated albums of the last few years is out. Orchid's 'Capricorn' has been released by Doom Dealer and it goes way beyond expectations. It is rare when an album that has been hyped to such a degree actually lives up to all the fuss but this album is my early pick for album of 2011. It has been over a year since their EP teaser was released so the extended wait for this album has been painful. The level of songwriting quality and playing on this album is staggering. The EP showcased their Sabbathian worship to the letter and they still follow that formula to an extent but the "Capricorn" album also shows the band has progressed and grown as both musicians and songwriters in just the last year. The songs on this album display more depth and have more of a character that is Orchid as opposed to being just another Sabbath clone. Of course if you love Ozzy-era Sabbath (and lets face it, who doesn't as it still to this day blows away any other Sabbath line-up or era) you are going to be in heaven spinning this disc. Finally a band takes the Sabbath blueprint and does something fresh with it while still keeping the organic 70's vibe intact. The package comes in a high quality 8 page CD-Wallet + 24 pages booklet but there is also going to a limited edition released housed in a fake leather hardcover book with the added bonus of an embroidered patch.

It is not very often I get excited about reviewing an album but even though I am laying here in my death-bed attached to oxygen machine to keep me breathing, I have to get this review up and published. There is not a weak second among the nine tracks on the album and the sound is amazing from the throbbing, nimble fingered bass playing of Nickle, the Iommi-esque majestic guitar work of Mark Thomas Baker, the charismatic vocals of Theo Mindell to the propulsive drumming power of Carter Kennedy. "Capricorn" has a warmness about it and from the very first time you spin the album, it is like listening to an album you grew up with as it has that 'classic timeless' vibe. The album opens with "Eyes Behind the Wall" that oozes out of the speakers with a menacing tone but it also kind of friendly in its looseness. Melodies are infectious and immediately addictive and I think it is important to say right here that while other Sabbathian bands such as Witchcraft comes across as sounding like 'camp-fire' doom-rock, Orchid are the total opposite. Their songs would have been stadium rock anthems if this band had of existed in the 70's. The sound is huge without being progressively pompous but it is riff after riff, melody after melody of ear-catching, spine-chilling majestic hard rock. After the inspirational opener comes the title track and it is a wonderful mid-tempo bruiser with killer hooks and just like Sabbath could take a simple riff and turn it into something inventive, Orchid have the same gift for cool songwriting. The Capricorn track is just one of 9 highlights and as you will soon discover, it is impossible to single out a single song as a favorite, this is a flawless album from start to finish.

The next track "Black Funeral" is the most Sabbathian track on the album with a riff that has the feel of the 'Electric Funeral' riff from Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' album. Orchid once again prove their skills as songwriters and players by not just ripping off the riff, they actually re-invent it and the end result is mind-blowing. The album then moves on to "Masters of it All," "Down Into the Earth" and "He Who Walks Alone" which is a trio of songs that are mesmerizing and the kind of material that makes me think this band should be treated as 'rock-royalty.' The third track in this trilogy has a jaw-dropping section middle section that you just can't sit still to and I hope you have a strong-heart because this will get the blood pumping. "Cosmonaut Of Three" is the track already released via a YouTube vid and you can find that video all over the Internet including Doommantia. The video doesn't really do the song justice unless you have a monstrous set of computer speakers. Listen to the CD version and you will be swept away by the feel of the song just as much as its crushing heaviness. The psychedelic-doom vibe this track projects puts this up with any other psyche-doom track you care to mention and that includes everything by Sabbath, Pentagram and Trouble. The album ends on "Electric Father" and "Albatross" which are both great tunes but the later maybe best sums up the concept behind Orchid. Sit in a darkened room with the incense burning and be transported in other-worldly realms, "Albatross" is incredible in its own right and is the perfect album closer.

Orchid have delivered an absolute masterpiece with 'Capricorn' that should be seen as the benchmark for all other retro-rock bands. It is so good that you may never listen to Witchcraft, The Devils Blood, Jex Thoth and these kinds of bands ever again after you hear this. I always knew that this was going to be good but I was expecting something in the same standard as their EP. This goes way beyond my expectations and deserves every bit of a 10+/10 rating.