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Orange Goblin - Healing Through Fire - 90%

Witchfvcker, June 10th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD + DVD, Candlelight Records (Reissue)

In 2007 Orange Goblin had been at it for at least 12 years, churning out acid-tinged space rock and red-blooded stoner metal like a well-oiled machine. Already a stalwart cornerstone of the UK stoner scene, the London outfit still fell short of the broader recognition enjoyed by their counterparts across the Atlantic. With the freshly pressed Healing Through Fire all of that was about to change. Although the tangerine gremlins remain a predominately underground phenomenon, their sixth album at the very least brought them to the helm of the accelerating stoner-wagon. Seven years later, Candlelight Records have reissued the groovy juggernaut, adding a couple of live cuts for good measure.

The initial impression left by Healing Through Fire is pure meat and potatoes stoner metal, with an impressive variety of catchy hooks and infectious grooves. Fronted by the raunchy snarls of vocalist Ben Ward, Orange Goblin have always felt a little rough around the edges. Dig a little deeper, however, and the depth of talent behind the gnarliness reveals itself. Healing Through Fire is built on top of a strong bluesy foundation, from the Zeppelin-esque riffs of “The Ale House Braves” to the marvelous harmonica-solo and southern twang of “Beginner’s Guide To Suicide”.

Despite its gruff exterior, tracks like “Vagrant Stomp” and “They Come Back” are so riddled with groove that they could easily qualify for hard rock radio airplay. Treading the line between accessible and weighty, Healing Through Fire stomps down a golden path of 70′s rock combined with more contemporary doom and southern metal. The vintage sound never compromises the pervading pounding heaviness, but leaves a sleazy rock and roll aftertaste. After six albums, Orange Goblin had long since grown into a formidable hard rocking beast, and here they finally reached the perfect synthesis of their psychedelic beginnings and the Motörhead-influenced blast of 2004′s Thieving From The House Of God.

Including live-versions of “The Ballad Of Solomon Eagle” and “They Come Back” feels somewhat redundant, as they don’t differ considerably from the studio cuts. Showcasing the live force of the band, it’s a small treat for fans but not enough to warrant a repurchase. As the album originally came packaged with a live DVD, the two bonus tracks are a bit underwhelming. Of course an albums as strong as this doesn’t really need any extra fluff – it stands perfectly on its own merits.

A brilliantly conceived meeting point of hard rock, stoner doom, southern blues, and classic rock, Healing Through Fire sees Orange Goblin at the top of their game. There’s not a single weak track on the album; the songwriting is exceptionally tight while still retaining the band’s rebellious streak. As for new listeners, this is the perfect introduction into the tumultuous world of Orange Goblin. Enjoy!

Written for The Metal Observer

Blues-driven stoner metal with class. - 95%

ozzeh, March 24th, 2010

Stoner/doom metal is one of my favorite sub-genres of metal. Obviously paying homage to 70's era Black Sabbath, Orange Goblin released an awesome album nearly up to par with Bible Devil's "Freedom Metal". The template of any modern metal album could be improved upon by adding subtle and not so subtle Led Zeppelin & Black Sabbath influences, not stealing from either immensely influential bands but by adding their own creative flair to the basic sound-scape of the aforementioned instrumental gods.

Stoner metal in the vein of Acid Bath, Freedom Metal & Kyuss is what you'll find here. The music takes on a sludge-like edge with vocals similar to Neurosis' Scott Kelly. The music has a serious infusion of groove-laden blues-based lead guitar work with a grittier production value to help boost the vintage nature of "Healing Through Fire". Rhythm riffs speed along at the pace of Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and Orange Goblin attacks ones' senses with a distorted wall of sound accompanied by well-timed and capable drumming courtesy of Scott Turner.

The blues back-bone to the majority of these songs are what I personally like the most and the high-paced tempo makes this musical characteristic fresh-sounding and intense. The production values are top-notch fully encapsulating the heart and soul Orange Goblin put into "Healing Through Fire". Most of the leads are pentatonic minor but this is blues based music so it meshes well overall. They're not overy technical but definitely competent musicians capable of writing catchy compositions.

While you're not going to find Thin Lizzy-styled dual leads like with Bible Devil or ripping solos for that matter, the song-writing prowess is ever-present and accentuated by a knack for great song-writing. Good work gentlemen.

Masters of stoner metal - 95%

Nightwalker, January 9th, 2008

When someone is speaking of filthy hardrock or sleazed stoner metal, the first band that pops into mind is (or should be) Orange Goblin. "Healing Through Fire" honours that title in every possible way imanginable.

While they used to have a more doom sounding stoner approach, that has completely been replaced for the good old way of rock 'n' roll and psychedelic Mardi Gras-tunes like they were straightly imported from Easy Rider. The last song on this album "Beginners Guide to Suicide" is an LSD-based rock 'n' roll trip with an overload of psychedelic instrumental tunes (including harmonica!) and couldn't be more perfect to visualize what I mean. The other songs on the album are much more rock 'n' roll than psychedelic. It's like this band was injected with a Motörhead-shot, snorted some Sabbath and used the same sleazy formula southern metalbands like Black Label Society and Down do. Ofcourse resembling sounds of Kyuss, Spiritual Beggars and Electric Wizard aren't too far away either.

Live this band works like a destructing force for your head and neck, while on the same moment your eardrums explode from the ultraheavy stoner metal they produce. This album is woven together by shredding riffs, drunken vocals and a mindblowing bass sound. Orange Goblin litteraly plays it dirty and are truely an old school motorcycle band.

If this isn't hell, it's the next best thing!

stoner metal perfection - 100%

gk, November 29th, 2007

Healing Through Fire is Orange Goblin's 6th studio album and the follow up to the superb Thieving From The House Of God (2004). A few changes happened for the band in the last couple of years. Founder member and guitarist Pete O'Malley left the band, and with the release of Coup De Grace and Thieving... the band had polarized fans. There were the fans who loved the first three stoner doom styled albums and fans of the more recently styled Stoner punk style. The band also seperated from long time label Rise Above to sign on to Sanctuary Records.

Now then, Thieving... was a terrific record. Combining the band's original Stoner/ Doom sound with Motorhead type rock n roll and a love for bluesy hard rock, the band went out on a limb and pulled off an utterly captivating album. Three years on, the band has returned with Healing Through Fire.

Healing Through Fire starts with the chunky groove of The Ballad of Solomon Eagle. The band seems quite in love with Lynyrd Skynyrd and American Southern Rock and a corresponding love for Zeppelin and Purple. Third song on the album The Ale House Braves in fact sounds quite a bit like Zeppelin before going off into a classic heavy metal part. Cities Of Frost is a mid-tempo rumbling monster that sounds quite unpleasant and vaguely reminds me of early Trouble before a typically raucous Orange Goblin riff takes over. Ward actually sounds a bit like Eric Wagner on this song in one of the verses. Hot Knives and Open Sores is a heavy stoner friendly song that sounds like it could have been on Thieving.. and the song has a terrific middle section with a thick rumbling bass part. Very nice. Hounds Ditch owes a debt to American Southern Rock and I think Corrosion Of Conformity in particular with an intro that could have easily been on that bands Deliverance album. Still, this album transcends its influences. Sure, The Goblin on Healing Through Fire may remind you of their influences every now and again but right from the moment you hit play, the band make sure that you know this is an Orange Goblin record first. The punk influences in fact seem completely streamlined into the sound of the band. It's like Orange Goblin has just integrated all of its influences superbly and what the listener is left with is a band that is way more than the sum of its disparate parts.

Mortlake (Dead Water) is a short acoustic instrumental piece that serves as a breather between the non-stop groove rush of the rest of the album.

This though is the calm before the storm as the album moves onto its best part. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) is a terrific rocker. Mid tempo like most of the album, the song has a super groove and vocal line before taking off into old school thrash goodness in the second half of the song. A guitar lead that's all 80s metal hits you before the band goes back to the opening groovy riff. The album finally closes with the eight minute plus Beginners Guide To Suicide. Starting off with some mellow blues guitar the band lock into a laid back groove with vocalist Ben Ward sounding a bit like Tom Waits in the softer sections. Sublime blues licks abound on this song. There's even the inclusion of a harmonica on the song and the result is nothing short of stoner heaven. Especially the harmonica- guitar jam that starts at about the five minute mark. If you though Black Egg (from Thieving... ) was as creative as this band could get, then think again because Beginners Guide To Suicide is some of the most chilled out groovy and inspired rock n roll I've heard in a while.

The Goblin has over the years developed a style of music all their own. You can spot the classic influences of Sabbath, Purple and Zeppelin and at the same time you get the thick fat riffs, the dirty bluesy grooves, bits of American Southern Rock, bits of Motorhead and the Stooges and the occasional, pure metal onslaught. Transcending influences and becoming a truly original act in the realm of stoner music is a bit of a difficult task. Especially when just about every stoner rock band today is mining the legacy of Black Sabbath. Still, Orange Goblin have now hit that rarefied atmosphere that the likes of Clutch and CoC inhabit. They may be a part of the stoner rock realm but not limited to the constraints of the genre.

With Healing Through Fire, Orange Goblin has hit a new level. Just a terrific album.

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.