When I picture what stoner and doom metal look like, knowing the history from whence much of it came two things come to mind. Number one being the southern California desert version that is spry and expansive or riff laden skater fodder and two, something more akin to forest rock that only the trees and the rain might offer, but forged in the dark recesses of an ancient city instead giving cold shelter to nothing but a bad attitude.
Orange Goblin form the latter of the two, with their roots firmly planted in the UK. What they had to offer alongside fellow countrymen Electric Wizard in the 1990's would change things to come in the future without them even knowing what was going on at the time. In 1995, if you can imagine two decades ago, the internet had not yet entrapped us and OG skulked under the radar to those of us in the US… but also because it was not yet their time.
We barely knew who Kyuss, Sleep or Acid King were, especially after the worship of Sabbath had waned in the 90's when Ozzy became a MTV mainstay, and now somehow the genre rose to the top of the food chain in recent years; the history of Orange Goblin’s music is the stuff of legend. They have been making music throughout the last twenty years, but up until A Eulogy for the Damned, they had not had made much movement on the American side of the pond.
Now that soom and stoner metal thrust itself to the front of the scene, Orange Goblin strikes with a heavy hammer on their new album Back From the Abyss. After going back through their catalog, the new record offers some great moments that stray from the formulaic structure of their early career: unmistakable that this is OG, but with several different looks at what they can do within that frame work.
Kicking off with a relatively tame and characteristic song “Sabbath Hex,” you might not believe there will be much to be gained until the divergent sounds creep in, invoking Motorhead on the track “Devil’s Whip,” swimming in the traditional blues of “Demon Blues,” or the dramatic intro to the riff loaded “Mythical Knives”. The stalwarts look to break the mold with this album more so than ever before in their career, while keeping with the framework they set in the beginning.
A band who has found their niche years ago, Orange Goblin proves that sticking to your guns can pay off in the long run. The audience will turn toward you when you are doing what you believe in and you do it well. Back From The Abyss doesn’t disassemble the castle built by the doom riff, but cracks the exterior a bit to let the light shine in and adopt new flavors in the stew they have had simmering for a long time.
As a newer fan of the band, I was not surprised by the new album… it hasn’t made me squeal like some other new releases. Back From the Abyss is a solid album, listenable, somewhat memorable, and will hopefully serve the purpose to get new fans to discover who this band is and why they are important to the a genre that many do not realize has a rather deep history between old Sabbath and latest Pallbearer. Turn this one on, crank it up and enjoy, even detractors cannot help but bob yours heads.