Ghost Cult caught up with the great Ben Ward of the venerable Doom Metal overlords Orange Goblin! On the eve of their first US tour in five years, Ben was gushing about coming back to the states, his excitement to play at Muddy Roots Festival, his personal festival highlights of his career like Download Festival at Castle Donnington, the Mercyful Fate reunion, choosing sick opening bands such as The Skull, Mothership and WoFat, incorporating left-turns musically, and his love of beer and pizza! Orange Goblin’s current album The Wolf Bites Back is available now from Candlelight Records.
Orange Goblin – US Live Dates
Tuesday, August 27th – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre # https://livemu.sc/2G0Fzzl
Thursday, August 29th – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall #* http://bit.ly/2K4fEKU
Friday, August 30th – Cookeville TN @ Muddy Roots Music Festival http://bit.ly/2FQOZfc
Saturday, August 31st – Dallas TX @ Gas Monkey #^ http://bit.ly/2Vo5B4I
Sunday, September 1st – Austin TX @ Come and Take It Live #^^ http://bit.ly/2Iabq1P
Monday, September 2nd – Los Angeles CA @ Regent Theater ## http://bit.ly/2YPQ14a
Leeds’ very own Black Moth began the evening with a rather truncated set of quality Stoner Metal. They didn’t have that much time, and yet the set was both thunderous and compelling, even if there wasn’t much of it, as lead singer Harriet Bevan noted with some annoyance before their last song. The end result was like having a nice slice of rich, dark chocolate fudge cake only to have it cruelly snatched away mid-munch by evil scheduling goblins. It was all too good for such a brief opening set. Continue reading →
When you talk about dream touring packages, very few co-headliners feel like such a glorious match as Corrosion of Conformity and Orange Goblin – the best of the US “Stoner Rock” and the UK’s finest down-and-dirty bluesy Heavy Metal troupe, tearing it up round the UK with Fireball Ministry and Black Moth in tow to warm things up. Continue reading →
I once opined on these humble pages that Motörhead didn’t do bad albums, merely good ones and great ones, and it has to be said that this proud epithet should also be bestowed upon the filthy and the few that make up Orange Goblin. It has been some twenty-one years since their debut, the still worthy Frequencies From Planet Ten (Rise Above), and for the ninth time the turbo effalunt has been charged up, the band are getting high on the bad times, and the red tide rises once more. Continue reading →
Whatever their time machine of choice, be it hot tub, DeLorian, magic red shoes (what… they are from Kansas…) or a stack of records, power-trio The Midnight Ghost Train have reset their clocks and gate-crashed the peak of the arid desert rock party that was the late 90’s and returned with all the big phat riffs, albeit with a darker and more nihilistic tone to their narratives in comparison to their Californian cousins, on their third album, Cold Was The Ground (Napalm).
New bassist Mike Boyne, often taking the role of prominent protagonist, fuzzes languid moves underneath Sabbathian grooves, as unhurried guitars roll out riffs that could be out-takes from the recording sessions of Fu Manchu’s The Action Is Go (Mammoth), and there really is a feel of enjoyment of their craft and making it seem effortless both in construction and delivery of the rockier moments, a confident nonchalance that makes ‘BC Trucker’ and the roil of ‘No 227’ simple, enjoyable bluster, while ‘Straight To The North’ shows a doomier side, with a tale to be told.
There is a sand-gritty heavy blues overtone to Cold Was The Ground , while the Ben Ward-esque gruffness of vocalist Steve Moss is suitably brusque, adding to the lo-fi bar-brawl charm, and his rhythms, patterns and storytelling lock with the riffs in a manner reminiscent of Neil Fallon and Clutch, particularly on ‘The Canfield’.
The Midnight Ghost Train don’t tend to do complicated, but on ‘The Little Sparrow’, all bass meander and spoken word account of (I assume) Moss’ relationship with music and the downsides of being in a band, they show there is more than one hoss in this town, before the Kyussed to the max downtuned blues ‘Twin Souls’ rambles in.
While neither the most original nor most challenging of listens, Cold Was The Ground is humble, modest, ramshackle and more than effective, with rockier tunes like ‘Gladstone’ and bluesier moments like instrumental ‘One Last Shelter’ showing that the desert is still an appealing place to get your rocks off.
Tapping into their British roots and pulling strands from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead, Orange Goblin’s 8th full length, Back From The Abyss (Candlelight Records)adds melodic guitar moments, roughened lyrics and driving beats to tell the listener a story, taking them under their arm like the newest member of the Hell’s Angels. Recorded in London, produced by Jamie Dodd (The Skints, One Night Only) and mastered at Turan Audio by Tim Turan, the album is refined to a roughened T. Out on October 6th, 2014 on Candlelight Records, Back from the Abyss is more of a rock & roll biker album than the metal force of their last record, A Eulogy For The Damned in 2012. Since their start in 1995, you can slowly see the accumulation of their influences, simmering into one metamorphic mixing pot to bring you this sleazy, speed filled injection.
Kicking off the album with ‘Sabbath Hex,’ rocking guitar hits you from the left, chasing up your groove to the brim, with the band kicking in from the right. Ben Ward’s retro, melodic vocals charm your pants off till you’re naked in the middle of your favourite rock club, swaying to the ever-changing rhythm. The centre bridge dips down in tempo, scavenging for energy to built the charge back up and storm back with a vengeance. The best part of the track is the last 35 seconds. Man, does Joe Hoare’s guitar ever wail. Smooth and bluesy, Martyn Millard’s bass injected life into the track, like a speedball never could.
‘Übermensch’ was a bit too far on the rock side of the stoner spectrum for me. A mid-tempo, triumphant and alcohol-fuelled manly anthem I can’t say I could relate to.
‘The Devil’s Whip’ snaps you into shape quick. A self-described “old school banger,” This rocking piece of rumbling momentum reminds me of the vigour I felt when I first heard Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ and it blasts through things just as quickly. A momentousus jolt of riffage, fired up from hell, with wailing guitar solos and rough, bad boy vocals.
Adding some psychedelia to the mix, for anyone into Acid King or Clutch, this might be the track to get you started. ‘Demon Blues’ presents the classic stoner rock persona morphed to fit today’s favourite monster. A vampire with speed in his veins and a loaded shot gun ain’t takin’ no shit. Sorry ladies but this rustic heart throb is a time bomb waiting to explode. The track’s lyrics are solid and tell an interesting tale, not to mention Joe Hoare’s solo at the end is killer.
‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ gets into a down and dirty groove that may just make James Brown rise from the grave. I feel the Hendrix in Hoare’sguitar work as vocals are lathered in whiskey. The bass keeps the groove low while the drumming is simple, yet powerful, leading the story forward into war. Just when you think the end has come, a surge flows back through their amps and their out of the gates again for another round.
Other notable tracks are ‘Bloodzilla’, with the intensity of a thrash band, yet matured and rough around the edges. From the speed of lightning fist pounding to the head nodding groove of a stoner outro, this track has everything you could ever ask for. ‘The Abyss’ is one that welcomes you in with caution. My favourite on the album, it adds mystique to the powerful, confident outlaw this album portrays and I can’t help but fall for the tale of such place which could draw you into the black.
It seems impossible for Orange Goblin to disappoint. Back from the Abyss keeps the power in your hands and a drink to your lips. As commanding as the stories they tell, any album of theirs could be a gateway drug into their world. This is a must listen stoner album for the year. Watch out for their upcoming European tour with Saint Vitus starting October 9th in France.
Healing Through Fire(Candlelight), the sixth studio album from British Metal (don’t call them stoner!) stalwarts Orange Goblin, saw the quartet in good form kicking out raunchy Sabbath-ian jams. Taking inspiration from both the great plague and great fire of London, the band kicked out more powerful metal but also displayed The Goblin’s new found knack for more accessible songwriting riddled with tasty Zeppelin grooves.
Man mountain frontman Ben Ward is on form lyrically, with nods to At The Gates (The line terminal spirit disease turns up on ‘Vagrant Stump’) and criticising the financial hierarchy referring to the “Rats of Fleet Street” on ‘The Ale House Braves’. The album contains much in the way of expected heavy metal thunder but is unafraid to take a welcome break with the charming instrumental diversion of ‘Mort Lake (Deadwater)’ showcasing some classy acoustic guitar, while the black hearted southern twang of ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Suicide’ employs some great blues slide and harmonica which complements its downbeat verse riff exquisitely.
OG aren’t known for experimental tendencies or genre defining exploits, preferring to stick to writing banging tunes like live staple ‘They Come Back (Harvest Of Skulls)’ about plague ridden residents of London returning from the grave to feed upon the living. While not a concept album as such Healing Through Fire demonstrated Orange Goblin’s ability to follow the heavy metal tradition of storytelling through their lyrics in the way great like Maiden and Priest have always done.
The lack of bonus tracks save for a live run through of ‘They Come Back…’ is a minor gripe but as re-issues go this is a timely reminder of one of the finest albums in the canon of a great British band. Perhaps second only to their Time Travelling Blues opus Healing… is such a good record it took the group five years before they could produce the follow-up.
If it is post, prog, neo-folk, doom metal you want then you’d best look elsewhere, but great heavy music? Step right this way sir!