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Time Travelling Blues, by Orange Goblin. The more I say that name, the more it occurs to me that this may be the greatest naming juxtaposition in the history of the cosmos. Time Travelling Blues. By Orange Goblin. It brings to mind some sort of crusty, pot-fuelled D&D game, back in the days when it was psychedelic, weird and violent - and not about twee elves on Epic Quests to Save the World.
In any case, this is one HELL of an album. Released in the UK in 1998 - a time when nu-metal was lunging like a pedophile into the nursery of mainstream consciousness - this is an album of unashamedly old-school power. No, not even old school - there's something timeless about this, such that everyone who thrills to the sound of electric guitar, smashing drums and roaring vocal fire and brimstone will latch on to it like some kind of heavy metal limpet. The whole album is thick with a kind of anti-pretension; these guys so patently don't give a fuck what a worm like you thinks, musing about time traveling, psychedelic exploration to the tune of a universal arsenal of riffs and searing, eyes-to-the-heavens cosmic jam solos. You can almost hear the band's thought: if this shit isn't mighty enough to stomp Godzilla's scaly face into a smeared mess on the asphalt, it's not REAL music.
But what does it sound like? Driven, swirling riffs in the blues scale sear and smoulder with irrepressible groove and thick, monster distortion, backed by clattering drums rammed to bursting with fills and delightfully accentuated cymbal work. Over the top, a thunderous vocal presence courtesy of Ben the Awesome roars like a vat full of Jack Daniels poured into an exploding megaphone, wielded by Chuck Norris on testosterone supplements. And just on the off-chance you're a flaccid pussy and get tired of the magnificent destruction, the band slides with consummate ease into a psychedelic or bluesy jam, suffused with soul and stargazing wonder. The whole concoction causes insidious gyrations of the body, delightful convulsions of headbanging, blissful considerations; inducing delirious trips into psychedelic hyperspace.
And the riffs! Holy mother. So much groove has never before been experienced by man or woman - and we're talking REAL groove, groove from the very bowels of Satan, a vicious, stalking groove so thick and insistent it could carve its initials in reinforced titanium. These riffs come and live in your house for weeks on end, lurking in the stereo like some malignant presence. They won't go - they're to awesome, to monstrous, too manly to leave until they want to.
Songwriting? Marvellous. From the storming, too-cool-to-be-true rage of Blue Snow, through to the soulful, melodic, magnificent title track, the album bursts at the seams with killer moment after killer moment. Even the 'throwaway' bonus track is just great to listen to, documenting the failed attempt of the drunken band to perform the unfortunately eternal Billy Rose/Lee David aural tumour 'Tonight, You Belong to Me'. If you've ever been there - three in the morning, pleasantly drunk, guitar in hand, forcing flagging limbs to play a stupid song you can barely remember - you'll laugh. A lot.
If you hadn't guessed already, this is fucking great and I love it.
"Kill 'em All" and "Ride The Lightning". "Battle Cry" and "Warning Of Danger". "The Warning" and "Rage For Order". While talking about other genres, I'm sure we all catch my train of thought.
"Time Travelling Blues" is the natural progression of a band. They scored a B+ with their debut, got through the baptism of fire, and in their second album, they appear to be much more focused, much more experienced and so much better songwriters. This is just obvious right from the time "Blue Snow" starts to roll in. Only little of the psychedelia furor of "Frequencies..." survived into "TTB" and that's a good thing, because the songs sound tighter and edgier, while still having these mellower interludes that allow them to breathe and don't get too predictable. And apart from all that analysis and philosophy, this albums just contains purely better songs than the previous one- "Solarisphere", "Shine", "Snail Hook", "Nuclear Guru". The riffs are still really heavy but the production sounds better, keyboards play their righteous part (which is accompanying the guitar work and not the other way around), Ward is still drunk, stoned and ready to swallow us alive, and the lyrics are just what you thought them to be, spaced out, fuzzed out, unexplainable, something of a drug-related vision or behemoth.
"TTB" is the kind of album that characterizes a genre, not like they invented heavy rock with this one, but more like it's such a good ambassador of that scene. Everything you would expect from a terrific stoner (eeeew term) album is here in enormous quantities so, what more would you possibly want? Testosterone flows in rivers while the Goblin riffs storm your ears with ferocity, putting "TTB", rightfully, in the category of heavy rock landmarks, like "Dopes To Infinity", "Welcome To Sky Valley" or "Mantra III". They deserve it actually. They're a great band, and this is their magnum opus, undoubtedly.
In my opinion this is the best Orange Goblin album and one of the best stoner metal albums ever. There are at least 7 outstanding songs on here, with absolutely killer riffs, that will have you headbanging, or in other places just nodding your head. It's actually pretty aggressive for a stoner album. The whole album has a cool atmosphere, like the band just went into the studio and had a blast. Drummer Chris Turner supposedly recorded his parts in one take. Ben Ward responsible for "hangovers and occasional vocals" does a great job, his voice fits the music perfectly. Joe Hoare and Pete O'Malley are the main culprist in coming up with some memorable riffwork, as in Blue Snow, Solarisphere, Shine and Time Travelling Blues. Let's not forget the best instrumental track I've heard that being Diesel (Phunt) Try not to headbang to this one.
The 10th track is a riot bonus track of the totally wasted band trying to play this acoustic piece that should last like 20 seconds. It takes them around 6 minutes or so.
If you like massive 70's influenced guitarriffs with plenty of aggression and great hooks, as well as catchy songs, you need to pick this one up.