There are those bands whose music requires you to think deeply, take long mental journeys, go on soul explorations and consider your place in humankind. Then there are those who are there to be loud, douse you with lighter fluid, threaten to light you on fire, and then just have a good laugh when all is said and done. Because you had fun, right? Both approaches have their merits, and often times it depends on one’s frame of mind to decide which type of music fits best at the current moment.
U.K. stoner doom warriors Orange Goblin always fit into the latter category for me. Not that you can’t take the band seriously, because they have very real, honest chops and make music that’s full of substance, but when you’re listening to their records, you’re less likely to want to start a political debate or examine the relevancy of spirituality, and you’re more apt to grab a whiskey and Coke and take a ride with these fellows. At least that’s how I feel about the band, and their latest album “A Eulogy for the Damned,” their seventh overall, makes me think no differently.
We haven’t gotten a new platter from Orange Goblin in five years, though we did get a splendid reissue package of the band’s first five albums last year by way of Rise Above/Metal Blade that probably helped indoctrinate some new listeners to their exhaust-spewing formula. They do take on the stoner tag, and from the sound of their music, it’s a fitting label. People probably do smoke up while hearing these guys play live or when taking on their records. But as noted, this feels more like drinking metal to me, and the band kind of alludes to this in an interview from a recent issue of Decibel. But, you know, do whatever you want. You’re here to have a good time, as classic heavy metal was designed to help you do.
Oh, if you like Southern rock, you’ll probably be all over this. Not that the band didn’t use those sounds in the past, but never has it been more pronounced than it is on “Eulogy.” In fact, they do it in such a kick-ass manner that dolts such as Kid Rock should feel like an asshole for failing so spectacularly at aping the sound only for money’s sake. And these guys aren’t even American. Feeling stupid, Bob? You should. You should feel sorry. You owe the world an apology. Orange Goblin pull out the finest strains of the sound, reminding me of the heavy hitters such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Bros. And Molly Hatchet. Shock of shocks, all of those bands sound great with drinking, so consider nail hit right on the head, Orange Goblin. Don’t worry, hardcore metal fans. The band kicks out some doom fog that’ll have you dreaming about Black Sabbath, St. Vitus and Kyuss, and they also administer a heavy dose of NWOBHM.
“Red Tide Rising” leads off the record and stands as our first new track we’ve heard from the band since “Healing Through Fire,” and it leads massively and aggressively into the rest of the album. “Stand for Something” is one of the catchiest songs on the record, and if there still was legitimate rock radio in this country, this could be a hit. People who got all fired up that Dave Grohl wore a Slayer shirt at the Grammys (really, that just made him seem kind of old …) likely will find a lot to like about this track. “The Filthy and the Few” is an open-road warning shot that opens with lines from the 1969 biker film “Satan’s Sadists”; “The Fog” is a suffocating death tale that’s one of the faster songs on this disc, with frontman Ben Ward at his throaty best; and the closing title track, the longest song at 7:14, plods along with dustily strummed acoustic guitars, a shifting tempo, and some fluid power metal-infused guitar work from Joe Hoare. As for that southern-seasoned stuff, you’ll find heaping helpings on mid-tempo “Save Me From Myself,” where Ward digs in for some deeper vocals; burly “Acid Trial”; total smoker “Return to Mars”; and “Bishop’s Wolf,” that also takes a deep plunge into psychedelics.
Having to wait a half-decade for a band as stellar as Orange Goblin is worth it when you get a disc as satisfying as this one. It comes off great now while there’s still snow on the ground, but I imagine it’ll play even better come summertime when the grills are lit, beers are consumed in the backyard, and people are detonating homemade fireworks. Skynyrd, Allmans, Sabbath, you’ve got company.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.orange-goblin.com/
To buy “A Eulogy of the Damned,” go here: http://www.candlelightrecordsusa.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://candlelightrecordsusa.com/site/