Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Review: Orange Goblin - A Eulogy For the Damned

 It's been a while since we last heard from one of the UK's most reliable sources for stoner rock, Orange Goblin, with their last album Healing Through Fire was released in 2007 and saw the band taking some time away from music to find some better paid jobs to help support families, something of a tragic sign regarding the music industry's harsh effect on underground rock bands that are that bit more deserving. Their departure was to the dismay of many stoner rock fans (I love the way I try to present myself as someone who knew about them in 2007. Let's not kid ourselves; my music taste in 2007 was godawful.) And since then, as I've followed the path of stoner rock in my constantly-growing love for the genre, I came across some of their stuff with great delight. So to a see a glorious return in the form of their seventh album, A Eulogy For the Damned is a joyful thing for myself along with all my fellow stoners.

 Perhaps the time away has been a positive experience for the group, we'll never know that, but what that has done is given the group five years to think of a new album and they actually seem to have used that time well, which has been seen as a rarity in some groups. A Eulogy For the Damned is essentially an album with ten tracks, each track containing what would be viewed as many people as rock and roll and heavy metal perfection as opener Red Tide Rising kicks off proceedings with driving stoner grooves played with immense passion and rapid fury from guitarist Joe Hoare and frontman Ben Ward. It reveals the group playing with a greater strength than ever before, with the boozy, trippy atmospheres kept totally intact.
 It's the deadly stoner groove that is unleashed with unrelenting power whenever possible that makes this album so overwhelming in it's quest for pounding listeners into oblivion. Whether it's in tracks like Stand for Something, the mellower Save Me From Myself, or the actually danceable Return to Mars, (which at times has a more hook based and catchy rhythms suggesting a Van Halen or Faith No More influence was put into this album) which use the groove in a more uplifting style, using it to present a heavy blast of colour and positivity or in the darker tracks such as The Fog and Death of Aquarius in which the dramatic and sudden increase in rapidity of the groove in the former and the transition to an eerie single riff accompanied by eerier whispered chanting in the latter give the album very prime moments of... pure evil. Pure awesome unrefined evil.
 More importantly, this album is filled with some wonderful rock n' roll swagger. The muscular riffs with a progressive sense of thunder found on Acid Trial, the crunching, adrenaline packed rhythm of The Filthy and the Few, and the awe-inspiring, soulful solos accompanied by equally soulful backing harmonies heard at the end of the album's closing title-track are all excellent examples of the best moments where you can literally hear the heart of rock n' roll beating intensely to the levels of it having some kind of major cardiac arrest. In a good way. And no Orange Goblin album would be complete without a clear influence from Motörhead, pretty much the kings of rock n' roll swagger being identified in most areas of the album. It's most identifiable in Bishop's Wolf in the rapid fire riffs fired out into a filthy atmosphere of grit and drunken aggression. Somewhere, Lemmy downs a tumbler of Jack Daniels with pride knowing his influence is being truly fulfilled by another British band as awesome as his own.
 So, if you're feeling your music is in need of a little more awesomeness and truly awe-inspiring psychedelic wonder, A Eulogy For the Damned is the perfect place to look. It sees Orange Goblin playing extreme rock and roll and heavy metal sounding as close to perfect as this music has ever been heard. The stoner grooves are central in this role of achieving ultimate extremities and power and it's even done with a lot of heart and soul put behind it. It shows rock and metal at it's most real and honest with results that cover an entire emotional spectrum with ease and perfection and a delight for all enthusiasts of rock and metal music. Orange Goblin could just represent the unrelenting, determined spirit of rock n' roll's quest to fight on in the face of impossibility. And they do it in the best way possible. This is quite possibly music at it's most real.

 Orange Goblin's A Eulogy For the Damned is out now via Candlelight Records. The band will tour the UK in April with Grifter, Dopefight, Church of Misery and Slabdragger.

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