RSS Feed

A Eulogy For The Damned

Candlelight (2012)
Rating: 9/10

Once in a while a band comes along that, although they have been around for years, has escaped my notice. On first listen I find myself blown away, and wondering how it’s possible that I’ve never been exposed to such an amazing listen before.

The most recent of these is Orange Goblin. This British stoner metal outfit has been cranking out high quality music since their first release in 1996, yet somehow I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy them until this latest album, A Eulogy For The Damned.

More than likely I missed Orange Goblin due to the stoner metal tag the band has been labelled with. I’m not generally excited about this subgenre of heavy music, so it makes sense I wouldn’t rush out to buy an album by a stoner band. But Orange Goblin does not reside inside the stoner metal mould. While the band certainly fits in the aforementioned category, the southern fried guitars of Joe Hoare bring a bluesy edge that doesn’t often exist in stoner metal. His playing celebrates the blues sounds of early Black Sabbath, a nod to blues-influenced classic rock bands like Cream and The Guess Who, the furious rock of Motörhead, and a touch of modern rock à la Down. It’s a combination that makes Orange Goblin’s sound driving, unique, and just plain fun.

A Eulogy For The Damned opens with the driving rock of ‘Red Tide Rising’, setting a tone that would make Lemmy and company proud. The song swings back and forth between driving metal and a Tony Iommi-esque blues riff. Vocalist Ben Ward comes in with a gruff yet melodic delivery that is tough as nails and draws you in to sing along. This is the perfect track to open this release. It ties together the musical themes that will dominate the remainder of the album, and is a powerful listen; think of a doom metal high energy anthem. It is immediately obvious that Orange Goblin doesn’t feel the need to fit any description you care to give them.

While the following track brings the tempo down a notch, it doesn’t let up on the intensity of its predecessor. ‘Stand For Something’ opens with a riff that would make the guys (and gals) in Nashville Pussy weep with jealousy. The rhythm section of bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner are perfectly synced to create a rumbling, powerful foundation that gives Orange Goblin a doom sound reminiscent of Black Sabbath and early Trouble. You can hear how important the rhythmic base they create is on songs like ‘The Filthy And The Few’. Turner’s drumming drives the song forward, while Millard’s bass bridges the gap between drums and guitars, managing to lock in with each.

More than anything it’s the powerful interplay between metal and blues that keeps bringing me back to these songs. ‘Save Me From Myself’ celebrates blues the way classic rock does best, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin or The Guess Who. ‘The Fog’ is blues like Black Sabbath delivered it on their debut. ‘Return To Mars’ opens with a funky drum beat that segues into a metal version of The Allman Brothers Band. While ‘The Bishop’s Wolf’ is more of a straight ahead metal song in the Motörhead vein, where the lead guitar drips blues all the while remaining heavy and menacing.

The title track, the final offering on A Eulogy For The Damned, opens with a riff that’s similar to Alice In Chains’ ‘Again’ (from 1995’s Alice In Chains). That likeness doesn’t remain long as dark, bluesy lead guitar kicks in, followed by sinister vocals, finally exploding into a doom inspired chorus.

Orange Goblin pays homage to the best of metal gone by, but isn’t a carbon copy of any other band. There are a lot of sound-alike bands in the metal world. In some ways, that’s my issue with stoner metal. To my ears there are few stand-out bands in this realm that are bringing something fresh to their audience. Orange Goblin are the kings of stoner metal. They have broken the chains of genre loyalty to create something unlike any other band I’ve heard recently. A Eulogy For The Damned is heavy, powerful, musical, bluesy, and absolutely brilliant.

Jim McDonald

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories