Orange Goblin have been a beacon of consistency but it’s been increasingly difficult to stick them in the same stoner metal corner with each subsequent album. The thunderous riffage, tight drumming, gruff vocal hooks and White Zombie-ish biker charm still remain but there seems to be more of a focus on songwriting these days. Backing vocals and gospel organs make occasional appearances. Combine that with an occasional indulgence in major tonality and OG virgins are bound to assume these brits are from the Southern US. You’ll still get those same chills upon first hearing of “Scorpionica” or “Blue Snow” but it’s just a more polished Orange Goblin this time around. Kind of like the Dude Lebowski wearing a tuxedo. Even all grow’d up as they are, Goblin still purr like the engine of a chopper. The “progress” of our favorite bands has burned us all at one time or another but fear not. For Orange Goblin, no bombast has been sacrificed in the pursuit of more carefully crafted songs.
You can listen to the opening track “Red Tide Rising” over at Noisecreep. A decent opener, to be sure. Strongest tracks? Hell, all of ‘em? “Fog” is a nearly 7 minute epic. Just don’t take its Sabbathian roots at face value. It’s dark, alright but the rhythm changes and monstrous riffage at the 3:45 mark prove that this is pure Goblin savagery. The dark, doomy “Death of Aquarius” is an instant classic in its own right. The most salient moment, however, comes on the cusp of the album’s end. The almost-title track “A Eulogy to the Damned” is marked by the use of acoustic guitars, a subtle almost choir-like backing vocal track and fluid Southern rock guitarwork. Amidst the ooos and aahhs, there is still time for the occasional sledgehammer strike but it’s the warm twang of the lead/rhythm guitar layers that completely steals the show. Seeing this band live was a real privilege over here on the west coast and I wouldn’t hesitate to pay top dollar to do it again. Essentially, the twang of A Eulogy for the Damned seems to indicate that these guys have been more into whiskey and the Allman Brothers than the usual Sabbath n’ reefer these days. Still, the evolution is deeper than that. The British legends of stoner have really come full circle in crafting beautifully fluid rock n’ roll songs with a metal edge. This is not music for couch potatoes and, honestly, Goblin never was. Don’t worry, mahn. You can still burn down. Just be prepared to get up, rock out, headbang and generally just boogie.