What we have on our hands today is a bold and quirky new debut from a relatively unknown and experimental German band, running for 9 tracks a length of 1 hour and 4 minutes. Sounds like a recipe for disaster? You’re in for a big surprise.

Orchid Machine are based in Freiburg, Germany, and their sound on their debut album can be summed up as ‘Freaky’. Wonky rhythms, riffs from outer space, performances that defy physics, ultra-human vocals, and quite simply a ton of fun. This is a band that had me listening intently, with a wide grin on my face throughout.

From the starting moments of the first track, ‘A Little Thing’, I knew right away that this band has a sizable chunk of The Black Angels in their DNA, mixed in with a lot of Queens of The Stone Age as well. From the geometric pattern on the album cover that reminded me of The Black Angels, to the tightly overdriven guitars and brutally raw vocals. The tones that grace this album, start to finish, are quite simply spectacular. A refreshing affair of immensely good production. ‘M Fckng Dh Xplds’ has what I will so boldly call one of the best guitar riffs that I’ve ever come across in my whole life. A freakish groove with a rock-solid rhythm section that’s then heightened by one of the kinkiest riffs of all time. Strangely, the band dissolves this groove after a mere minute and a half of pure skankiness, retreating to an utterly experimental rest of the track. Guitars are suffocating, vocals are begging for mercy, rhythm section is literally on the verge of dissociating, before the wonderful groove kicks in again literally 30 seconds before the song ends, saving the day from absolute collapse.

Hardcore German yells are all the rage on ‘Payback’. A piece that starts with hectic, violent disarray, that suddenly kicks into one of the album’s most driving and slick sections. The duality between domestication and utter hostility on ‘Payback’ are a perfect showcase of a band in absolute control of their output. Something tells me that these wonderful pieces of music were recorded live with very few takes or overdubs. I can’t be sure, but the sound is so fresh and there are so many tiny kinks left in it that I’d just let myself believe that that is the case. ‘I Don’t Wanna Be A Man’ is a piece of funk metal that almost nobody asked for, but you’re going to groove to it nonetheless. The 7-minute beast has one of the most intense beats on the album. Whole minutes of rolling toms can have a toll on your mental capacity, Orchid Machine don’t care. Nor do they care that the noise guitar riffs with their dense filtering effect can adversely affect the unprepared. They proceed with their thing. Multiple phases come and go in one of the album’s most impressive pieces of arranging and songwriting.

Centerpiece ‘Eine gewisse Menge an Zeit’ takes a moment to get in gear. This 14-minute piece of music starts roughly after 9 and a half minutes of foreboding, instrumental noise. I’d ask why, but at this point into the world of Orchid Machine… I won’t. I’d rather groove. And they provide groove. In fact, the remaining 4 and a half minutes are wholly populated by an instrumental groove. A tasty, messed-up, funky groove that does not relent. Worth the 9 and a half minutes wait? I’d wait days for this groove to kick in.

Can we remember the delicious, overdriven, and crunchy metallic guitar tones of Origins of Symmetry era Muse? We should, because Flaporhynth delivers those, in style. This song features something unheard of… A pair of cohesive, familiar melodies. This unspeakable affair is thankfully musical and tight, resulting in a song that’s rich with scruffy guitars, healthy chords, orchestrated beats, and a vocal performance that does not remind me of 70s Japanese horror films… ok maybe it does slightly. ‘Gods Own Favorite’ is Rock n Roll, but make it metal. Reminding me heavily of something that Led Zeppelin could have dropped on their Presence era. Yes. The guitars are that nice, inventive, and slick, the drums this groovy and tight, the bass this punchy and warm, and the voice this charismatic. Maybe not as flamboyant as Robert Plant, but the slap-back delay on the vocal take is reminiscent of Presence era Zeppelin.

The band really unleashed their 70s Japanese horror aesthetic on the gigantic closer ‘Wurzel’. A 10-minute instrumental that’s at once tragic and vengeful. The band is on a constant upward spiral with their dynamics. Starting the piece in relative silence and then letting all hell break loose one instrumental track at a time, masterfully bookending one of the most rewarding and enjoyable listens that we’ll be having in the entirety of 2023.

There is nothing to say about Answers to Questions Never Asked. This is a landmark drop from a band of consummate masters who are relishing the top of their musical prowess. Expansive arrangements, ludicrous tones, fantastic performances, some of the freshest ideas I’ve been exposed to for a really long time, immense production value, and ultimately, a whiff of 70s Japanese horror.