Alright, kids. Are you ready for a fresh-out-of-the-oven hot take? Here it comes… *drum roll* I personally think a good chunk of stoner metal bands are monotonous, edgy blues-rock acts [editor's note: I fully support this statement. – CD]
Don't get too heated, I fully agree that there are legendary icons born out of this style. Still, like other subgenres, there's a decent slice of the stoner metal scene that is too much of the same old same old. Innovative acts like Kyuss, Masters of Reality, Dozer, or even the somewhat recent Red Fang keep my full attention. Yet, other bands that fall under a similar approach have often been hit-or-miss in my opinion.
I understand that making a bold statement like this automatically attracts apathy. Nonetheless, I believe Orange Goblin is one of these groups that have put out some solid records and also some so-so albums. Considering the band has been together for over two decades with eight full-length albums under their belt, I approached this new record with optimism regarding its ability to reignite my perspective on the band and subgenre.
Admittedly, upon initial listen of this record, I feared it was just another stoner-rock-by-the-numbers album. After working through this album many times though, I have gained a larger respect for Orange Goblin's songwriting. Although their overall discography never quite grabbed me as firmly as other stoner rock or metal acts, The Wolf Bites Back allowed me to reconsider. There are a few numbers on this LP that were passable, however pieces like "Swords of Fire," the title track, and "The Stranger" are songs I'll likely return to in the future.
In the end, it's a pretty decent album. I'm still not the hugest fan of the group, but I certainly have a positive association towards Orange Goblin after giving this record a chance. Lastly, I am very much so convinced The Wolf Bites Back grows in quality with each listen, so be patient if you're like me and am not immediately sucked in.