2015 sees Orange Goblin celebrate 20 years, and already they have announced a pretty special show at London’s Desertfest playing their classic ‘The Big Black’ in its entirety as well as doubtless a few special surprises. Yet, despite that, and a presence that has seen them grow from an underground London band to one of the most respected hard touring rock and metal bands around, it was only with 2012’s stunning ‘Eulogy For The Damned’ that the band finally became full time musicians, a move that deserves praise and the success they’ve achieved and so much more. This year sees the band returning with their second “professional” studio album, and the pressure must be as high as the expectation. So, how does this new release ‘Back From The Abyss’ stack up against the Goblin’s mighty back catalogue? Read on.
From note one of track one, ‘Sabbath Hex’, Orange Goblin show they are firing on all cylinders, and have created yet another hook laden fist pumping anthem that could slot straight into the set list of their shows. Joe Hoare, powered on by the 1000 horse power rhythm section engine of Chris Turner and Martyn Millard, has plucked yet another stunning riff from his seemingly endless supply, all providing a platform for the powerhouse vocals of the human whirlwind of tattoos, beer and hair that is their massive front man Ben Ward. The band has managed to somehow distil their live energy into one four and a half minute recorded attack. ‘Ubermensch’ follows with a growl like the engine of a Triumph Bonneville, and it would be easy to imagine the band, clad in leather astride their bikes blasting across the highways of Easy Rider with this as their theme song.
With their history the band are now becoming influences on a new generation of acts, but at the same time they are not afraid to pay homage to their own influences. ‘The Devil’s Whip’ is laden with the punk ‘n’ roll of classic Motorhead, the speeding solo being pure Fast Eddie Clark; ‘Demon Blues’ has more than a hint of ‘Blizzard’ era Ozzy in the verses; classic seventies rock just oozes from ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’; the band even play at Iron Maiden in the massive ‘Mythical Knives.’ Some folks, such as your humble scribe, remember when Orange Goblin were far more of a stoner doom band, and that part of their repertoire is not forgotten in the dirty bluesy sprawl of ‘Into The Arms Of Morpheus’, complete with its lyrics of travelling into outer and inner space fuelled by heavy doses of science fiction and chemicals. Hell, the band even finish the album with two tracks that could have been written just for me: as a massive HP Lovecraft fan I couldn’t fail to appreciate the Cthuloid menace of ‘Blood Of Them’ and the discordant instrumental ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth.’
‘Back From The Abyss’ may well be the definitive Orange Goblin album to date, the band throwing a heady combination of punk, doom, stoner, metal, and stripped back rock and roll into a musical cauldron overseen by sonic alchemist Jamie Dodd, the resultant brew being 100% pure enjoyment. Already the band are announcing a raft of shows, not least a European tour with the mighty Saint Vitus, and any of the tracks on this album will surely do nothing but enhance their reputation when played live. This is an album that I have no doubt will be in the top 10 list of a phalanx of writers, and may well finally boost the band to the level of success they so massively deserve.
Oh, and why after singing the praises of this album have I not give it the maximum 10/10? Well, if those buggers just keep getting better I’ve got to have somewhere to go when I score the next one! Unlike Nigel Tufnel’s amps, Ave Noctum reviews do not go to 11!