Monday, January 23, 2012

Doom on! - Featuring Leather Nun (America), and Orchid

Raining.  Wind whipping the scattered leaves into a violent frenzy of attacking dead foliage.  Lightning cracks the sky.

Time to get some doom on.



Leather Nun (America) - All Your Kin

Of all the doom bands that have plodded into the Ripple office over the last four years, Leather Nun (America) have always been one of my favorites.   Plowing the requisite post-Sabbath highway of death, destruction, and hating of the world, Leather Nun just seem to do what they do with an unbridled love and demented passion.  Their riffs are as heavy as a wrecking ball descending upon my cranium, the songwriting is generally as tight as a virgin's chastity belt, and the mood is as dark as the space inside Charles Manson's soul.  In other words, everything you need for a solid doom record.

I'd reviewed their last psycheDoomelic release a year or so ago, but thanks to John Sarnie, All Your Kin, the band's 2007 release found it's way to corrupt our mail carriers hands.  And from the very first explosive seconds of "Overdope" I knew I was in good hands.

Not to be confused with the legendary cult Swedish garage, goth and industrial group, this Leather Nun hails from California, and now uses the America tag in their name; Leather Nun America.  However, All Your Kin was released before they added that tag, so it's attributed to Leather Nun.  Just to clear up any confusion.

One of the main things that makes Leather Nun stand out for me is the intent they put into their music.  Often times Doom becomes a battle to see who can play it the heaviest and slowest, but this trio knows how to flex their muscles and add some stoner groove and some plain ol' rock to the assault.  The result is a doom record in every sense of the word, but with riffs that charge and a backbeat that drives, and a groove that could almost get my ass up to do the doom boogie. You'll hear some Pentagram here, some Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, even some Deliverance-era COC. Wino is worshiped along side Ozzy.

And there is nothing wrong with that, All Your Kin is potent as a Doom-laden nitro stick, and the whole album chugs and stomps and builds and terrorizes like a mastodon set loose in a china shop.  This is doom done right, or a least right in my darkened book.  Having heard two of this trio's albums so far I can say with confidence that Leather Nun is way too good to not be mentioned in the same breath as the "big" boys mentioned above.  Wake up world, it's not too late to get raped by the nun.



Orchid - Capricorn

I know nothing about this album other than it's on The Church Within Records and came to me courtesy of Doom-dealer.de.  That was enough to get me interest.  Church Within Records?  Hadn't heard of them, but damn if that isn't a cool name for a doom label.  Doom-dealer.de I know.  I trust.  I'm interested.

Disc enters player and damn if the most solid Sabbath doom I'd heard in ages comes terrorizing out of the speakers.  Let's set the table right away.  This isn't Sabbath-inspired doom, this IS Sabbath doom.  From the Iommi flourishes at the end of the riffs, to the Butler-flying bass, the Ward-all-over-the-set drumming, and most importantly, the very-Ozzy vocals.  The arrangements are Sabbath.  The guitar tone is Sabbath.  Everything.  There may be another influence somewhere, but  I can't hear it.   In the hands of a lesser band, this would be tossed aside as a Sabbath cover act, but damn if Orchid don't do it well.  And do it without the slightest hint of an apology.

San Franisco's Orchid love Sabbath and they want to play Sabbath, and the results are killer.  Does it matter that this album sounds it could've been snuck somewhere admidst the Sabbath catalog of the first 6 albums?   Nope, not one bit.  That's it's strength.  This isn't building upon Sabbath, it's a reinterpretation of Sabbath, staying dedicated to the original template and having a ball with it.

Songs like the manly strut of the opener "Eyes Behind the Wall" and the drill-into-your-brain earworm title-cut  simply rock.  When they get slower and moodier, they're no less Sabbath, as on the plodding "Black Funeral" with all of it's Iommi-isms.   But none of that matters.  What matters is that from start to finish, Orchid do it right.  Yes, it's Sabbath, but it's fun and the dedication is infectious.  Dig it.

--Racer



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