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Sunday Old School: Orange Goblin

There seems to be a theory these days that younger metal bands aren't particularly interested in where their style came from, focusing too much instead of who can be the most "brutal." Fortunately though, there will always be those who never forget the time when metal featured great riffs, a fun atmosphere and a band named Black Sabbath. This week, we'll be looking at a British band, who in the time when death and black metal had been firmly established and industrial metal was continually gaining momentum, showed that the roots and traditional heavy metal were still cool and they are called, Orange Goblin.

The London quartet was formed in 1995, by vocalist Ben Ward, bassist (and former Queens Park Rangers trainee,) Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and guitarist Pete O'Malley, originally using the name Our Haunted Kingdom, under which moniker they released a split with a young doom metal named Electric Wizard a year later through Rise Above Records, the label owned by another doom cult hero, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral (and formerly of Napalm Death.) This was the band's only release as Our Haunted Kingdom, before changing to the now familiar name, Orange Goblin before releasing their debut album, "Frequencies From Planet Ten," through the same label in 1997. Though not all critics were impressed, it was well received by fans of the stoner metal genre, with some citing them as future champions in the field.

Following the album, the band released the two Japanese bonus tracks, "Nuclear Guru" and a cover of the Black Sabbath song, "Hand of Doom," as a two song EP, both on its own and as a split EP with old pals, Electric Wizard, before their sophomore full length, "Time Traveling Blues," hit the shelves in 1999. It was another effort that pleased fans, if not all journalists and featured some favourites and live staples such as, "Blue Snow," as well as the previously released, "Nuclear Guru."

Only a year later, Orange Goblin released a split with Alabama Thunderpussy as well as their third full length album, "The Big Black," which received some of the best reviews of their career up to that point and really seemed to cement their place as one of the best young bands around and crown princes of the stoner metal genre. Once more, it was notable for featuring several outstanding tracks, not least the opening number, "Scorpionica," which took the riff work of Black Sabbath and supercharged it into a crowd shaking anthem.

Two years on from the release of, "The Big Black," the group released, "Coup de Grace," which was notable for their first release as a quintet following the recruitment of guitarist Joe Hoare, as well as being the final album on which Pete O'Malley performed, as he was to leave the band two years later to pursue his artistic career. The record itself saw Orange Goblin utilise their punk and doom metal influences more than on previous releases and featured guest appearances from Kyuss singer John Garcia and Nebula bassist Tom Davies.

In 2004, Orange Goblin released, "Thieving From The House of God," which was to be their last record for Rise Above and included a cover of the ZZ Top classic, "Just Got Paid." It also featured something of a change in lyrical content, shifting away from the tales of drug trips and fantasy and more towards the hard living, whiskey drinking lifestyle. A three year break would occur in between this and their next album, "Healing Through Fire," which drew inspiration from the great fire of London, though it wasn't necessarily a concept album. It was also their only release through Sanctuary Records, as they were to sign with Candlelight the next year.

After signing this new deal, it would be the longest wait for a new album Orange Goblin fans had faced thus far, as their seventh album, "A Eulogy For The Damned," wasn't released until 2012. It was worth the wait however, garnering some very good reviews and spawning two music videos for opener "Red Tide Rising" and "Acid Trial." The record helped bring Orange Goblin back to people's attention and fortunately for fans new and old alike, it was to be a shorter wait before their next album, "Back From The Abyss" was released, hitting the shelves in 2014. It continued where the band left off, crafting more seventies inspired heavy metal with plenty on offer, not least a Sabbath tribute in the guise of the single, "Sabbath Hex." Where the band go from here remains to be seen, but Orange Goblin will forever have respect for not only creating some great metal music but for helping bring attention back to where heavy metal started, with a modern twist.

Orange Goblin - "Aquatic Fanatic"

Orange Goblin - "Blue Snow"

Orange Goblin - "Scorpionica"

Orange Goblin - "Monkey Panic"

Orange Goblin - "Some You Win, Some You Lose"

Orange Goblin - "Beginners Guide To Suicide"

Orange Goblin - "Acid Trial"

Orange Goblin - "Sabbath Hex"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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