A Eulogy For The Damned
13 February 2012
by David Keevill
The big, fat slab of grunt fodder that is Orange Goblin’s latest release belies their psychedelic past, but not entirely to its detriment. The ethereal leanings of their earlier works have been shed and with their latest release they’ve grown a more coherent and altogether heavier sound, that benefits from A Eulogy For the Damned’s assured, singular feel.
Undoubtedly with the record, the mighty OG have found less of an outlet for their ‘stoner persona.’ Although never quite comparable to Kyuss in their sludgy groove, nor as vocally abstract in Ben Ward’s vocals as Garcia’s, instead what Orange Goblin forged with albums like Frequencies From Planet 10 was a fleshy, shuffling, confused gargantuan of hempen twiddling and slathering brutality. Come 2011, Orange Goblin sound like a different band; leaner, harder and yet slightly bereft.
A Eulogy… is certainly not the work of a straightedge band. Orange Goblin still maintain the scars of abuse demonstrated by song titles like ‘Acid Trial’ and ‘Return To Mars’ and on occasion flourish their insane masochistic groove; additionally, the title track starts like a huge nod to Alice in Chains’ junky pilgrimage, Sludge Factory. However, this is an album that has adopted a far more obvious central stance, calling upon big, brash riffs and limiting Ward’s low-end growl to less strenuous vocal activities. Yet putting what they’ve lost aside, this is an astounding sucker punch of a record that is full of condemnation, angst and ballsy musicianship.‘Red Tide Rising’, for example, is a furious cauldron of riff melding into riff whilst ‘Stand for Something’ suffers a little introspection but picks up with the most instantly recognisable chorus on the album.
Listen to ‘Red Tide Rising’ by Orange Goblin:
Orange Goblin suffer no fools, neither in their shifting lyrical focus (weed, bad police, weed, midnight assassins sweeping down from the clouds of Venus, weed) nor in the simplicity of their musicianship; we rarely move away from anything guitar led. ‘Save Me From Myself’ roils with a dark, drawling Southern riff and the choris of ‘The Fog’ segues into a huge, smouldering groove. The flexibility of the album is left to diminutive instrumental fills and varied degrees of ‘bounciness’ (for want of a much, much better word), and instead goes relentlessly balls to the wall in its efforts to produce incredibly pleasing and well-constructed metal. This is where the album really comes into its own, because although Orange Goblin have shed the majority of their alternative nuances and streamlined their musical style, they’ve created an unassuming and refreshing keyhole into the genre.
At a time where innovation drives progression, Orange Goblin’s stripped down return to basic principles is as refreshing as a bloody good rollicking, and we’re ever so grateful for this.
Sounds Like: Riffs from the Haus of Black Sabbath + A BIG FAT BONG
Top Tracks: Save Me From Myself, A Eulogy for the Damned