Review Summary: Orange Goblin continue to explore their trademark stoner metal style on one of their most consistent releases to date.
For as many as seventeen years now, London-based Orange Goblin have been a major force to be reckoned with when it comes to high-octane stoner metal. Over the course of time, the group's style has grown more and more straightforward entirely abandoning any traces of psychedelia being found on their excellent 1997's debut, Frequencies From Planet Ten
. Several albums and line-up changes into their career and the quartet sounds as relentless as ever before providing their trademark groove-laden heavy rock once again. The seventh full-length release of theirs, A Eulogy For The Damned
, captures the band wholly assured of their own style. It may not push any musical boundaries nor expand their fan base, yet it feels totally in line with the expectations of the act's ardent followers.
The robust, solely guitar-driven onslaught is still based on brash, superbly harmonized guitar riffs, which along with the resonant, always precise rhythm section, make for truly inspired sludgy groove rock. In fact, the metallic constituents of their previous work have been somewhat limited, which results in an album that has more of a hard rock vibe to it. Ben Ward's singing is probably the best indicator of this minor shift in style given that his performance exclusively relies on melodic, yet gruff vocals rather than harsh ones. The greatest asset of A Eulogy For The Damned
is most definitely its remarkable consistency. Actually, this is the quartet's most stellar collection of songs in over ten years. There are absolutely no filler tracks that have plagued their last three albums nor any stylistic experimentation which might have broken the record's steady flow.
Even though it's scarcely one of the most diverse albums in the genre, A Eulogy For The Damned
has its fair share of various influences going on. “Red Tide Rising” opens the disc with the vortex of cascading sludgy riffs that in next to no time reveal the act's combative approach, while “Acid Trial” is evidently reminiscent of traditional heavy metal due to its top-notch technical soloing courtesy of Joe Hoare. Elsewhere, the ultra-fast pace of “The Filthy And The Few” happens to be ingrained in hardcore punk. The real revelation though is the new-found affection for southern rock. For instance, “Save Me From Myself” boasts memorable vocal lines and bluesy guitar work that resembles the latest Suplecs record more than anything from Orange Goblin's back catalogue. Moreover, the band doesn't curb their tendency to get supremely catchy every now and then. Bracing “Stand For Something” with its existential lyrics, smooth transitions and anthemic tone may even rival “298 KG” out of The Big Black
as their most infectious tune.
At one point, Ben Ward sings “my only master is the man I see in the mirror”, which perfectly summarizes Orange Goblin's ballsy and unpretentious attitude that's in full swing on A Eulogy For The Damned
. It might be an overly conventional, by-the-numbers stoner rock release for some; however, it's so unabashedly fun to listen to that the true fans of the genre will certainly find it extremely difficult to resist.