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Orange Goblin - The Wolf Bites Back

Label: Candlelight/Spinefarm
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10

Orange Goblin’s music doesn’t just play, it crowdsurfs, with gangly, Heavy, beer-sweat Stoner Fuzz rock coming down on your head, in the tradition of Clutch, Droids Attack, Greenleaf, Kyuss/QotSA, and. . . Orange Goblin (OG have been around since ‘95, after all) - - plus a few surprises in the mix. There’s some imaginative stuff in the lyrics, but this ain’t music for pondering deep thoughts. These tunes are soaked in groove and plugged into the electrical outlet; they’re sure to elicit a physical reaction in their listeners - - either head, the neck, the feet, or the elbows.


Side rant: a lot of high-energy music is getting labelled as Doom, of late, because of the tube amp, shaggy distortion, clear gruff vocal sound. I don’t fully agree with this. Sure, Orange Goblin would fit in on a bill with Doom bands, but I think they’re too energetic and too diverse for this branding. Doom - - to me - - is better-suited to slow, plodding, deep-tuned Heaviness.
I appreciate guitarists whose love for playing shines through on recordings. OG’s lead axe, Joe Hoare, sounds like a kid who’s obsessed with his instrument. Joe’s not a shredder - - there aren’t even many distinct solos - - he’s just an impassioned player who injects every note with vitality. He pulls a multitude of styles from his rolodex to create fantastic variety from song-to-song, even where the overall sound and feel is similar. There are a lot of good parts to the Orange Goblin engine, but his playing is the finest component.
Recommended tunes: “Sons of Salem” (Rise up!), the excellent “The Wolf Bites Back,” NOT “The Renegade” - - this is probably the one terrible part of the album, the bass-forward “Swords of Fire,” the balls-out “Suicide Division,” the Mark Lanegan-reminiscent “The Stranger,” and the hook for “Burn the Ships.”

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