Long one of the inarguable best of the doom-stoner sect is ORANGE GOBLIN. You either know them or you don't, and you if you do know them, dissatisfaction is not a part of the intake. Their latest project, "Back from the Abyss", is everything ORANGE GOBLIN fans are craving: a bit of BLACK SABBATH, a bit of MOTÖRHEAD and a whole lotta cool.
"Sabbath Hex" is merely a warm-up for how good "Back from the Abyss" is and by itself, the title is explanatory enough. Perhaps one reason why ORANGE GOBLIN, like CATHEDRAL and WITCHFINDER GENERAL before them, is so stellar at this game is having been raised in the same turf as the originators of the whole doom enchilada. Not that doom practitioners around the world haven't gotten it right, since CANDLEMASS are doom sovereigns by their own Gothic design. Yet ORANGE GOBLIN carries a sense of authenticity that seldom gets praised outside their own circle. "Sabbath Hex" is 4:48 tribute to all that BLACK SABBATH is and has been to the metal scene, one that continues to churn acolyte after acolyte over the years. Accordingly, ORANGE GOBLIN rolls out this cut with every lick of passion they have inside them, flexing a BLACK SABBATH-spirited shit-kicker with a little American mud boogie flung from their treads. Ben Ward's gravelly pipes and his shared riff procession alongside Joe Hoare are set at amp's strain and filled out beauteously by Martyn Millard's unstinting bass.
"The Devil's Whip" is as MOTÖRHEAD as MOTÖRHEAD gets themselves, with a hair of VENOM lurking beneath the fast-riding 2:22 blues mosher. Like VENOM, there's a hilarious in-joke as ORANGE GOBLIN plays Beelzebub to snarky effects. When the mid-tempo rock jive of "Demon Blues" shakes out behind it, there's a carryover lyrical hilarity to the whole thing, but ORANGE GOBLIN pounds it out with a MOTÖRHEAD grit and if you're listening hard, you'll pick up a fleeting trace of BAD COMPANY. The choruses on "Demon Blues" are bipolar to the main melody, but they're nonetheless terrific and infectious.
The 6:20 "Heavy Lies the Crown" is a great blues rock number with a Jimi Hendrix nod twinkling through the first half of the intro and later along the ride. Even when Ben Ward drills his throaty vocals, there's a murky nod to Hendrix as ORANGE GOBLIN takes a sonic ride into Valhalla, mincing the blues into their metallic Viking romp. Historically a subject for power and folk metal, "Heavy Lies the Crown" turns the lore upon its proverbial horned helmet.
Afterwards, the 7:07 "Into the Arms of Morpheus" takes a slower SABBATH-licked doom nod on the heels of Martyn Millard's chunky bass lead, then follows a long, blaring jam guided by Chris Turner's shuffle-step groove. On the song plods with a slightly faster click than your typical doom bomb, as Ben Ward rejoices about a valium-assisted exodus into the next life. The frolicking instrumental outro hints at ORANGE GOBLIN's purported bliss in death that you have to be a metalhead to fully appreciate. Afterwards, the band takes another SABBATH glory ride across the high seas, keelhauling their way through the rousing "Mythical Knives".
With a song called "Bloodzilla", you can expect to take it as seriously as werewolf sex, but ORANGE GOBLIN kicks the crap out of this cut with some MOTÖRHEAD nudges and it's a burner, pun intended. The only surprise is how long "Bloodzilla" goes at 4:10, which is largely due to a prolonged bridge that also serves as the song's escape chute. Cheers to ORANGE GOBLIN for this impulsive unpredictability.
A pair of instrumentals thrown toward the end of "Back from the Abyss" ("Titan" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth") bookend the blaring "Blood of Them", the latter sounding as much of a leadoff track as the setup to close. All-told, ORANGE GOBLIN delivers that rare album where even 54 minutes doesn't seem like enough. "Back from the Abyss" gives and gives some more, but when it's this fun, an encore seems trite.