Thursday 25 September 2014

Orange Goblin - Back from the Abyss (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/10/2014
Label: Candlelight Records

“Back from the Abyss” CD/DD/LP track listing

1). Sabbath Hex (04:47)
2). Ubermensch (03:56)
3). The Devil’s Whip (02:14)
4). Demon Blues (04:40)
5). Heavy Lies the Crown (06:18)
6). Into the Arms of Morpheus (07:06)
7). Mythical Knives (04:47)
8). Bloodzilla (04:10)
9). The Abyss (05:33)
10). Titan (01:59)
11). Blood Of Them (05:47)
12). The Shadow over Innsmouth (02:53) 

The Band:

Ben Ward | Vocals
Joe Hoare | Guitar
Martyn Millard | Bass
Chris Turner | Drums


Eight albums in and we’ve come to know what to expect from this London quartet. Their no-holds-barred approach to stoner/doom rock may seen a few minor tweaks in the years since their 1997 debut Frequencies From Planet Ten, but the raw ingredients have remained the same. On ‘Back From the Abyss’ their signature sound is as flavourful as ever.

Orientated around heavy riffs, drawing from the grooves of Black Sabbath and Motorhead with bluesy tonalities and punk aggression, ‘Back from the Abyss’ delivers everything you want from an Orange Goblin record with a merciless vigour. Opener ‘Sabbath Hex’ is a fitting example of that. Driven by a riff to send packed, sweaty rooms of stoners into a frenzy of smoke and headbanging, topped by a chorus as anthemic as they come for a band such as this and featuring a few cheeky Sabbath references in the lyrics, it is the sound of a mighty return.

One by one you greet these songs as old friends. There is something comfortably familiar to them, it’s not unlike anything you’ve heard before, and all the while bringing the kind of fresh excitement only a great new album can. 

Recorded with ‘A Eulogy For The Damned’ producer Jamie Dodd at The Animal Farm in London, the record’s sound is slick yet allowing the songs top breathe and, quite simply, wreck havoc on their own accord.

‘Ubermensch’ is delivered with a fistful of aggression; subtle harmonies adding a punch to the songs. ‘The Devil’s Whip’ meanwhile is unashamedly Motorhead in its make-up, and who can complain at that? This song was born for the stage. ‘Demon Blues’ is a really strong track, with Ben Ward’s whiskey and weed flecked wind pipes dominating the mix and coupled with one of the grooviest riffs you’ll hear in a long while.

‘Heavy Lies the Crown’ temporarily drops the volume with a laid back blues jam. Sounding natural, free and unrestricted, it is a joy to hear. At 6:19, this is where Orange Goblin really come into their own. The song builds and builds, venturing from the early blues jam into the vast expanse of spaced-out, stoner rock heaven with dignified ease.

‘Mythical Knives’ is another full throttle affair with, you guessed it, more incendiary riffs and Ben Ward finery, while the excellently titled ‘Bloodzilla’ tries its damndest to break your nose with a big slab of dirty punk. ‘Titan’ is perhaps the sparkling jewel in the album’s crown. With clever guitar playing that shows you should never underestimate the impact of a well-written chord progression, it offers a gorgeous two minute instrumental interlude.

‘Back in the Abyss’ is an album that instantaneously feels at home in your record collection. It’s one of those albums you can easily return to over and over again whether you are seeking stoner lullabies or want it to provide the soundtrack to mindless destruction.

Long live Orange Goblin.

Words: Phil Weller     

You can pick up a copy here and here

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