It was 2014 when we saw the release of the first-rate Back from the Abyss. It seems like it’s been a long time since then, (and it has, I suppose), but now I’m very pleased to say that Orange Goblin are back with one of their strongest and most diverse albums to date.
Orange Goblin are like a force of nature in the UK metal scene. From the start of the very first track on this new album – Sons of Salem – it’s obvious why. Setting the scene for their new album with instant gravitas, charisma, and obvious flair, it’s a strong start to what is a very strong album. As mentioned earlier though, this is a diverse collection of songs, and the opener only demonstrates one facet of what this talented band is capable of. Tracks 6, 7, and 8 are great examples of this – from an atmospheric solo-led instrumental, (In Bocca Al Lupo), to Motörhead-worship punk, (Suicide Division), to a soulful blues-driven semi-ballad, (The Stranger). All top stuff.
On The Wolf Bites Back the band are focused and committed to rocking out with their earthy, endearing brand of vibrant rock and honest heavy metal. At 41 minutes in length it’s one of the shorter Orange Goblin offerings, with briefer songs that are mainly concerned with delivering catchiness and hooks with practised ease, albeit in different ways. It also has a rawer delivery, in both style and production. If Back from the Abyss was a more polished affair, (it was, but not in any way detrimental to that distinctive Orange Goblin sound), then The Wolf Bites Back is more underground and consistent with the band’s storming live shows. In fact, this latest album seems born to be played live in all its glory.
As with any Orange Goblin album, The Wolf Bites Back is full of riffs, riffs, and more riffs. So many riffs! Orange Goblin know how to write a good tune, so this riff-worship is put to good use; the songs on this album are more than just collections of riffs stuck together with no apparent plan. A lot of what makes Orange Goblin so special can be found in their soulful groove.
Although Orange Goblin have a distinctive sound in many ways, I’ve always liked the fact that within this they manage to have quite a diverse delivery. Stoner, classic metal, hard rock, blues, punk, doom metal, even a progressive edge here and there…this is one of the reasons why the band have managed to consistently release comprehensive, well-rounded albums. In some ways, despite its relative brevity, this album is one of their more diverse offerings. Each song has its own feel, its own place on the album. You can quite quickly differentiate between tracks very easily, and the entire collection of songs is as well-considered when it comes to dynamics and flow as it is well-delivered when it comes to performance and feeling.
Containing very well-written songs that are massively enjoyable and infectiously catchy and memorable, Orange Goblin have once again returned with a roaringly good album. The Wolf Bites Back is definitely up their with the best of them that the band have penned.
As far as I’m concerned this is an essential listen for any rock or metal fan.
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