Orange Goblin are well known throughout the metal underground and for good reason too, they combine the best parts of old Deep Purple with more modern bands such as Kyuss among a myriad of other influences. Formed in 1995 their hard work paid off as they command a formidable underground following and for good reason too. Their albums are a stoner fans (anti) Christmas’ all come at once.
The album wastes no time in making its impression felt. The motorcycle sound that opens ‘Blue Snow’ sets the pace for the rest of the album. It comes out and hits you right between the eyes with its stomping groove. Ben Ward then interjects with his gruff, yet incredibly likeable voice, warning us about blue snow falling on us when our dreams are over. You know you’re in for a treat when you hear lyrics such as these. Of course, you’d have to be of the stoner rock persuasion to appreciate this.
Some of the highlights off the album are anthems that you will find yourself singing along and grooving to time and time again. ‘Solarisphere’ blasts by like an oncoming bulldozer completely annihilating everything in its path. ‘Shine’ is complete Deep Purple/Sabbath worship but with the Goblin stamp pressed onto it. From the organ opening to the Pantera-esque ending you are not left for one minute without something to groove along to. Unfortunately the rest of the album cannot really stand up to the opening three tracks but they do contain a good few moments where the opening magic comes through. ‘Diesel Phunt’ is often criticised by people but I cannot for the life of me understand why. The riffs are memorable; the drum fills are fantastic as are the solos. It has everything a fan could want.
Some of the templates laid out by the opening songs form the basis for those that come later on. While they are all great songs in their own right, you may find your attention wavering on tracks such as ‘Snail Hook’, which is the weakest point on the album. However, that’s not to say that the track is completely un-enjoyable. There is a great break 3 minutes in, which unfortunately doesn’t last for very long and leaves you with 3 plodding minutes to go. Nevertheless, songs such as ‘Lunarville 7, Airlock 3’ and the title track which is a complete 70’s rock sing-along finishes off the album more than make up for the odd dull moment.
The production on the album suits it to a tee. The guitars are gritty and not overproduced. The drums are mixed perfectly, and lie flawlessly among the other instruments. The bass is also audible which is nearly unheard of in today’s metal releases. Ben Ward’s vocals are the high point of the album for me. He can do anything from a soulful croon (opening of the title track) to a gritty, powerful tone sound on most of the songs.
Lyrically, this album produces what you would expect from a band such as this. You get fantastic tales stemming from hallucinogens. While this is great for a fan of the genre, it may not appeal to those who like lyrics to have deeper meanings. However, if you’re an extreme metal fan, lyrics won’t be the focal point of the album for you.
To finish off, I would definitely recommend this cd to metal fans without hesitation. Any fan with a penchant for Black Sabbath would instantly like ‘Time Travelling Blues’. Rating-wise I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. While the opening tracks are all stellar, the album tends drag a bit after these. Perhaps if the running order of the songs were changed, the cd would be more evenly paced. However, despite minor flaws, this album is one of the best examples of ‘feel – good’ metal that you will find. Buy it now to bring a ray of sunshine into your bleak music collection!