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Excellent stoner/doom metal - 91%

Empyreal, September 2nd, 2007

Fuck yes. This is old-school Sabbathian stoner/doom worship of the highest caliber, and I really fucking love it. There's nothing trendy or modern about this release at all; just a hoard of chunky, doomy, catchy-as-fuck riffs that never stop hitting you through all 43 minutes of it's runtime - a true feast for the classic doom lover. This album could easily be from 1979, but it's not - it's Orange Goblin's sixth full length release, and definitely one of the best albums to come out thus far in '07, rocking out in the tried-and-true spirit of old Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Cirith Ungol, and Slough Feg.

The band is fronted by Ben Ward, who is apparently wasted most of the time, and his voice is damn good and fits the music to a tee, right down to the last note. He has a gravelly, rough voice without much of a range and not much singing talent either. But hell, he lets the guitars have the center stage and doesn't try to do anything he can't do; knows his limitations, so I don't have any complaints here. This isn't vocally oriented music anyway, it's all about the riffs here, and the riffs are fucking good. Joe Hoare may not be the next Malmsteen, but as the only guitarist in the band, he's certainly holding up well. The riffs here are tremendous, clunky, and driving, carried by an ironclad groove sensibility, giving off a psychedelic, stoner vibe at all times, the solos are great fun, and there is not one song here that doesn't carry with it a bucketful of riffs that defy you to bang your head along with them. The bass guitar is heavy, distorted and thumping, and it would probably uproot the shrubs in your backyard if you cranked it up loud enough, and the drums are pounding and skull-crushing, exactly as they should be, although admittedly I do not notice them as much compared to the bludgeoning, relentless guitar attack on display here.

Orange Goblin may not be innovating anything here, but this is not stagnant or dull in the least, and anyone who says otherwise can go back to their polished mainstream drivel or their basement black metal. You can't really argue with killers like "The Ballad of Solomon Eagle", the groovy "The Ale House Braves", the riff-storm of "Cities of Frost", the monstrous, massive "Hounds Ditch", the epic, jazzy "Beginner's Guide to Suicide", and the completely fucking awesome "They Come Back (Harvest of Souls)", so just go get this album immediately and bang your head. Highly recommended.