OSCO, Death (2012, demo)

The skull:
I once did a very similar pencil drawing in art class, only the skull had a hole cut into it and a little peg inserted underneath. It was a birdhouse, you see. How clever I was. The skull was actually very well drawn (I still have it) although that was only possible because I spent hours and hours merely transcribing the lines from a realistic plastic skull I had bought at the Halloween store. I had to ask my art teacher for help with the peg, because I couldn’t get the perspective right without actually seeing the thing in real life. My point is that even a high school kid with almost no artistic skill could have drawn this skull. But it took a real hack, a person of low morals and even lower technical ability, to have inserted these glowing spiders, stars, and #f00 red blood with MS Paint or whatever cheap drawing program came preinstalled on his Dell. The modifications made to this skull drawing practically count as vandalism.

The music:
This demo is the work, I must assume, of a kid in his mid teens, because I refuse to believe that any adult would release something so terrible into the wider world. This kid can’t write, can’t play, can’t growl, has no idea how drums are played (and so no idea how to program lifelike beats), and can’t work Garage Band. This is so bad that it wouldn’t even convince as a jokey ridicule of death metal in a rotten TV show. There doesn’t appear to be any bass at all. There is generally only a single guitar, and that guitar is almost never in time. If you’re a fan of outsider art, then maybe this will tickle every ironic bone in your body. If you’re a fan of the Osco chain of pharmacies, however, you’re in for a rude awakening here.
— Friar Johnsen


ORCHID, Through The Devil’s Doorway  (2009, The Church Within)

The skull:
Remember those Madball toys? Those baseball-sized spheres depicting weird-ass faces that looked like rejected Garbage Pail Kids? This Orchid skull looks like the skull of any given Madball. It’s a pretty retro-cosmic image, and those stars make it look like that old Proctor & Gamble logo. A fairly cool piece of art, a spherical skull trapped in psychedelic swirl…ready to sell you abrasive kitchen and bathroom cleanser.

The music:
Amongst the stoner-doom contingent, young San Francisco band Orchid are hugely revered already. And while they’re very good at what they’re doing, what they’re doing — ripping off a particular era of Ozzy-fronted Black Sabbath — is no more or less interesting than Sheavy and Count Raven, who staked their claim on this hallowed ground eons ago. Personally, I don’t need another band like this. Now, Witchcraft, there’s a band…a band that somehow manages to push forward and look ahead while drawing from the same well of inspiration as Orchid. Part of that’s down to songwriting acumen, and part of it is knowing not to cross the fine line where inspiration and plagiarism meet. Let me just go ahead and state the obscenely obvious: Black Sabbath did it better than anybody else. Of course I hear other ’70s and ’80s bands within Orchid’s sound, but just listen to this and tell me it’s not 98% derived from Black Sabbath 1970-1975:  “No One Makes a Sound” < “Supernaut” // “Into the Sun” < “Symptom of the Universe” // “Son of Misery” < “Hand of Doom.” What’s the fucking point???
— Friar Wagner