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Orange Goblin | Big Black | review | stoner | rock | Lollipop

Orange Goblin

The Big Black (TMC)
by Brian Varney

Logically speaking, there's no reason this should be as good as it is. Those more cynical and less versed in the rock than myself might sneeringly refer to this as "stoner rock by numbers" and indeed, condescension aside, they wouldn't be too far from the truth. There's really nothing about this that sets it apart from any of the others in the recent glut of bands working similar territory. And yet, in spite of this, it stands above 95% of the records to come from said genre.

This is the third Orange Goblin record, and you won't be surprised if you've heard the others. Like the first two, The Big Black is stuffed with Sabbathy guitar riffs, hard, physical vocals, and a ball-busting rhythm section that achieves the seemingly impossible task of making the considerable grooves trudge nimbly. Although this sort of thing is very rarely about the songs, the tunes themselves are good to very good rock bruisers with occasional psyched-out spacey interludes ala a brawnier take on early UFO or Hawkwind. Keep in mind, though, that the spacey thing is only a small part of what Orange Goblin is about. Don't expect 'em to be hippies just because they're British longhairs with Hawkwind mentioned in the review. More often that not, the songs are crushers like the brutal, thuggish "Quincy the Pigboy" (originally released on last year's Rise 13 compilation).

I really hate to mention the name Black Sabbath in a review of this sort, but it's almost inevitable. And it isn't that Orange Goblin even sound especially like Sabbath; it's more the oafishly elegant way in which the tunes move. I suppose I could be really clever and compare 'em to Sleep or something, but why be clever? It's cleverness that music like this is rebelling against. Was it cleverness that made Kyuss the greatest rock band of the '90s? Was it cleverness that made Black Sabbath the best and most important rock band of their era? Fuck no, it wasn't. It was the rock. And it's precisely that, my friend, which Orange Goblin is standing outside waiting to deliver in a very large and very concentrated payload called The Big Black. But I can only show you the door -- you have to open it.


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