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Knocking back beers and squashing the cans - 78%

gasmask_colostomy, November 17th, 2017

I was wrong about Orange Goblin and so were you. Why we keep calling the Londoners stoner metal I can't quite figure out, except for the fact that their early output had themes about space travel and a few psychedelic covers, plus a professed liking for motorbikes (though wouldn't that be biker metal?) For a long time since then, these guys have played loud heavy metal that has suckled from the teat of Motorhead, Corrosion of Conformity, and Black Label Society until fully weaned and strong enough to form an individual identity. If you're into big riffs, classic solos, and melody (though not too much), you'll probably dig this about as much as a team of miners.

Saying why this is good is fairly simple: it's metal enough to be heavy, catchy enough to be memorable, and interesting enough to be cool. The metal part can be understood from Orange Goblin's comparison to those three groups in the first paragraph. All are metal but haven't changed the formula much beyond pure rock music, certainly not including any playing techniques that require much development beyond 1981, nor any of the attitude that came with heavy metal's expansion into more extreme arenas. The riffs on A Eulogy for the Damned tend to be straightforward, groovy rockers, the kind who still use words like "far out" and "man" without any inkling of irony. That Joe Hoare is the only guitarist also tells us that Orange Goblin haven't been interested in making things complex for quite a while, satisfied instead by medium-paced mud-slingers and hefty power chord sequences, most of which get their hooks in deep after only one or two listens. The bass playing of Martyn Millard is fairly important in this equation, allowing the sharper shapes of the guitar to add some aggression while the burbling momentum rolls on behind, making the songs sound more pacey than they really are.

The songs themselves are quite an achievement and a testament to the longevity of the four-piece. Aggressive cuts like 'Red Tide Rising' and 'Return to Mars' hack and slash with Ben Ward's vocals in prime grizzled form, while the more laidback 'Save Me from Myself' does the double duty of giving some space to the compact riffing elsewhere and blurring the lines between Orange Goblin and the southern metal scene. There are some vaguely more explorative moments, with songs edging out to seven minutes, yet the experimentation is usually just with different tempos or the Hammond organ on 'The Bishop's Wolf' rather than any dramatic change to the formula. Those expecting atmosphere are thus going to feel a little neglected, since the crushing guitar sound and energetic drumming don't really bespeak subtlety, though there are parts in the verses of 'The Fog' and the title track, where chord changes and the tone of Ward's voice bring out other moods than knocking back beers and squashing them against your forehead, which is generally what the album is best for.

It's slightly difficult to criticize Orange Goblin when they are obviously so much fun to listen to, but it does seem that the stalwart theory of "If it ain't broke..." can only carry A Eulogy for the Damned so far, especially as the band's best trick turns out to be the only one they are really good at. Listening to individual songs from the album is thus an undoubtedly positive experience, especially as 'Acid Trial' and 'Return to Mars' are rollicking riff-fests with shout-along vocals, while the combined features of the 10 songs are probably less than the sum of their parts, placing too much emphasis on similar note patterns and gruff refrains. As a result, this is unlikely to be called the best Orange Goblin album, though there are plenty of reasons to start with this one, as well as for fans of good time metal to pick this up.

Come To Me As The King Of The Damned - 95%

Twisted_Psychology, April 6th, 2013

Originally published at

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.

Orange Goblin - A Eulogy for the Damned - 65%

ThrashManiacAYD, May 7th, 2012

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

Big, Fat Slab Of Stoner - 75%

burnswastaken, February 20th, 2012

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.