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!
8 / 10