without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Originally published at http://suite101.com
Orange Goblin could be regarded as your quintessential stoner metal band. In additional to having an awesomely silly group name, they blend the heaviness of Sleep with the psychedelic touches of Kyuss and have somehow lasted longer than both bands combined. But while the band has been known for an enduring consistency, this particular album is their first since Healing Through Fire came out in 2007. Originally slated for a 2010 release date, a series of unfortunate circumstances kept this from reached at that time. Fortunately, the wait has most definitely been worth it.
For the most part, the musical style on here could be described as typical Orange Goblin. The riffs are energetic, the song structures are packed with memorable grooves, and the vocals still get by on a gruff delivery that recalls a mix of Rob Zombie and Cathedral’s Lee Dorrian. Yet this album also seems to have a more aggressive edge than usual. A vague punk influence can be detected as the riffs are pounding, the drums have a great deal of muscle and provide several great fills, and the vocals have a strong bite to them while still retaining a good sense of melody. If anything, it makes them rather entertaining to sing along to…
This heaviness can be heard throughout the album as songs like the opening “Red Tide Rising” and “Acid Trial” are made memorable by their powerful rhythms and strong drums that go along well with the tightly constructed hooks. In addition, songs like “The Filthy & The Few” have the most prominent punk feel. With that said, things never get heavier than they do on “Death Of Aquarius.” Not only is it the most doom-oriented song on this release, it is arguably the most satisfying thanks to its oppressively marching riffs and catchy vocal lines.
Of course, there are still a few outlying songs where the band’s more psychedelic side gets its chance to shine. This can best be seen in “Save Me From Myself with its laid-back instrumental work and smooth transitions bringing about a loveable feel that is somewhere between classic rock and grunge. The closing title track also appears to be aiming for some more ambitious territory. Starting off with a feel similar to that to “Save Me From Myself” with swirling guitar leads and a deeper vocal approach, it then brings in a Zeppelin-styled groove without losing that previously established tempo.
The most unique song on here is probably “Stand For Something,” a track with a more rock-oriented tempo and an outlook that can’t tell if it is meant to be optimistic or downtrodden. In fact, it reminds me of a more muscular version of Mastodon’s “Curl Of The Burl” though this song may have actually been written first…
As someone who did recently get into Orange Goblin courtesy of the classic Time Travelling Blues, the variety on this album is quite awesome though the band’s spacier side could’ve been explored a little more. The more direct approach is great but there were some spots where some more usage of the wah pedal or a Hammond organ would’ve been quite gratifying.
But with that said, this actually does manage to be a damn good release overall. It definitely makes for a fun release and shows a lot of power for a band that is approaching the latter years of their career. It most certainly proves to be an early highlight in 2012 though time will tell how it will compare to some of the other albums that are coming out this year. If you haven’t listened to Orange Goblin before, this wouldn’t be a bad way to get initiated though you could also look into their earlier releases if you’re more interested in psychedelia. I’d highly recommend this to fans of Cathedral, Kyuss, Mastodon, and 420 enthusiasts everywhere.
The mid 90's era saw a boom of stoner metal, followed by a revival of doom metal with the likes of Electric Wizard, Cathedral and Acid King. Orange Goblin, however, stood out among the cloud of smoke and emerged with a unique sound all their own that alternates between twangy, upbeat southern metal and slower groove songs. After forming in 1995, Orange Goblin released their debut album in 1997. Six albums later and the London band have still proven themselves worthy to bear the title "Grandfathers of Stoner Metal". Does their seventh full length release, A Eulogy for the Damned, hold just as strong?
What is clearly noticeable from the start of the album, after "Red Tide Rising" rolls in with a soft synthesized wave intro, is the much improved audio quality. In previous releases, the audio is always muffled and there is little to no clarity between each instrument. In saying this there is also concern that the fuzzy distortion signature to the bands style could be lost within the clarity, however this fear is soon abandoned once the song begins with a distorted guitar note being strummed over and over again before the bass and drums come crashing in, delivering an unexpected explosion as a whole new audible world is created. As the vocals come into play, it is also clear to hear that Ben Ward retains his signature style which is just as overwhelming and powerful as always.
Along with the aforementioned opening track "Red Tide Rising", "The Filthy and The Few" is one other track that stands out among the rest, giving off a real western outlaw/biker bad ass vibe which makes a great bridge for the subsequent song "Save Me From Myself" which is much more slow and reflective. The material given on A Eulogy For The Damned offers great diversity which keeps the listeners attention by not staying at the same tempo. Starting off with an upbeat track and switching off the next with a slower, groove song. Some listeners may find tracks such as "Save Me From Myself" and "Death of Aquarius" a bit too slow, but this keeps the album from droning on too long and is a welcome change of pace, reminding us that Orange Goblin have also upheld their ability to create memorable doom songs. The drums have a smooth sound with a hard kick when the bass drum hits, amping up the intensity of the tracks. Martyn Miller shows off beastly, gritty drive with bass lines that tie the fast paced, southern guitars together to the drums eloquently.
When you put everything together, A Eulogy For The Damned is almost an instant stoner metal classic. Orange Goblin are stronger than ever in this release, the explosive drive is almost overwhelming in the crystal clear audio quality and allows an experience like never before due to the poor, muffled sound quality from the past material. Having everything from bad ass, fast paced songs that one could picture listening to in a biker bar to slower doom songs that take you away to the universe, this album is a must hear.
- Villi Thorne
Orange Goblin have been a regular act in the London rock/metal scene over the past decade plus, frequently appearing on doom/stoner bills or to be found at the bar when other big names are in town, and having witnessed a good number of their shows and being well-versed in their previous records I can testify for their ability to turn any occasion raucous however pleasant it may seem at first. From previous records "Healing Through Fire" and "Thieving From the House of God" back to their early stoner days OG have always shown the band as a pint-raising sweaty barroom act, but for the first time on "A Eulogy for the Damned" we see the band clean things up a bit which I'm afraid to say is having a negative effect on my perception of the album, however undoubtedly good most of the tracks here are.
For as solid as tracks like "Red Tide Rising" and "Acid Trial" are, I can't help but feeling "Save Me From Myself" and the lack of cutting edge found in the overall composition of the record when compared against the brilliant "Thieving…" stand up as strongly. On the positive side though, Ben Ward's recognisable gravelly vocals have stayed powerful through to this day, his impressionable physical size rendering him a man not to be reckoned with in a similar vein to how Pete Steele of Type O offered you no alternative but to surrender to his masculine command. Through "Death of Aquarius", "The Fog" and the title track in particular the doom aspects of OG take the upper hand in what has always been a continual battle of doom v stoner as to what best defines this lot; much to their benefit this been as OG have always been more than a stereotypical tribute band to the legacy of Black Sabbath, as so many of their ilk have tended to be. The musical performance of Ward's three cohorts is typically solid with the little flourishes of Joe Hoare's guitar adding a great deal of colour to the stoner vibe laid down by Martyn Millard's groovy bass lines.
However after many listens I can't help but thinking a bit of the grit that has found it's way into past productions would not go amiss here. Hoare's guitar tone and Ward's vocals are both restrained against the pure power that they can otherwise unleash and the effect is that the closing half of "A Eulogy"'s… 49 minutes begin to drag on like the effects of a particularly bad hangover. That said, this record is still a solid one and the provider of a number of tunes that would well suit an evening of drinks and smoking with your mates, so long as things don't turn too messy – that’s what you need the older material for.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Orange Goblin's A Eulogy For The Damned is a meaty piece of stoner rock. While there are tunes laden with heavy tinges of metallic fury, this is a hard rock album. One has to admit it as a part of the heavy stoner rock category rather than the 21st century definition of big, brutal and epic metal. Stubborn and opinionated as we tend to be, a metal head would be forced to label it a certain way. The beefy slab of an album is not by any means lean or trim but it has a heavy bone in it and tastes like it has been cooking in its own juices all day. It may be a little over done in one spot but it is tasty as all get out and proves that Orange Goblin has more heart than most every band on the scene today. This is the first great, perception shifting record of the year.
Enough pondering the rottenness of genre defining. Let's get to brass tacks kind of new criticism, the work itself. Early on, pummeling riffs drag the listener in with the driving power of Master of Reality era Black Sabbath. The heavier half of the album beats with a gas chamber tight attack. Ben Ward's vocal rasp, grit and melodic growl will bring to even the most high strung fans thoughts of hay-day 90's doom inspired by 1975's Sabotage.
While it certainly conjures images of classic fatback stoner albums of the past: Cathedral, Church of Misery and Corrosion of Conformity they do tread some more progressive fields on the record. Peppered throughout, the other side of the coin is that the album is far more laid back at times. Some may call these parts of the album boring or too slow but this isn't an album of atomic dynamite ponds. This album is a collection of songs made to rock. (See the listener friendly Return to Mars). The rock 'n' roll on the record is really a trip back to a time when bands made songs in a garage without thinking of selling half a dozen singles to a record company or radio. One can almost smell the oil stained concrete and the smoky beer mirror on the wall.
On the whole the album is heavier fare than your average Goblin release. A new label is a new chance to prove themselves. It at most is heavy enough for any metal head to hang their hat on to (1, 3, 6, 8, 9). It at least is certainly a fun record deserving of attention. It could very well go down as one of the classic U.K. stoner albums.