Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back: Gnashing of Teeth

Posted in Reviews on June 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin the wolf bites back

More than two decades on from making their debut in 1997 with Frequencies from Planet Ten, what else to call Orange Goblin but an institution? The Wolf Bites Back is the London four-piece’s ninth album, their first for sort-of-new label Spinefarm/Candlelight Records (they were on the latter, it got taken over by the former, voila: new label), and it comes after a four-year drought of studio work since the release of 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), which only continued to raise their profile following the 2013 live record A Eulogy for the Fans (review here) and the preceding long-player it was intended to complement, A Eulogy for the Damned (review here). Most of that time the band spent on tour, so it’s not like they’ve been sitting around actively not recording an album or something like that. They’ve been otherwise occupied, and with the sheer sense of attack that’s present in the songs that comprise The Wolf Bites Back — to say nothing of the aggressive mindset of the title or the threatening nature of the artwork — one could only argue it’s been to their benefit. In its bullshit-free 10-track/41-minute run, The Wolf Bites Back summarizes much of what’s always been righteous in Orange Goblin‘s sound.

It covers nearly every side of the band’s approach, from the Sunlight Studios-infected doom rock of “Swords of Fire” to the crisp, three-minute opening anthem “Sons of Salem” to the Motörhead speed-strut of “Renegade” and down to the last hook and long-fading solo of closer “Zeitgeist,” The Wolf Bites Back finds the band going song-by-song through the varying stylistic aspects of their own particular style, from all-out fury to dug-in groove and back again. They enter direct Southern-heavy conversation with (upcoming) tourmates Corrosion of Conformity on “The Stranger,” and do so only after the raw punker blast of the two-minute “Suicide Division” scathes and scorches and stomps into the ground the peaceful and psychedelic strumming of the actually-longer layered guitar interlude “In Bocca al Lupo” before it. There’s more reaffirmation happening throughout than breaking new aesthetic ground, but as much as The Wolf Bites Back quantifies the diversity in what Orange Goblin do, it also reminds that it’s the strength of their songwriting that has always tied their work together, and it’s on that level that their ninth full-length sees them refining their take.

Not that it doesn’t have its patient stretches or its purposefully languid moments, but frontman Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner have been playing together since at least 1995, and in the musical conversation happening between them, they sound like it. Produced with thickness and depth by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral, Primordial, Paradise Lost, many more) following the sharper, metallic tinge Jamie Dodd brought to the last two outings, The Wolf Bites Back strikes with its efficiency and ferocity alike. “Sons of Salem” is quintessential Orange Goblin, a fist-raising chorus that finds Ward inviting a sing-along without actually asking. They’ve never had trouble knowing how to launch a record, and with the title-track immediately following, there’s a moment of letup in the guitar intro to the second song, but soon enough, Turner starts a tense gallop in the drums and heavier riffing kicks into the first verse and they’re underway. An especially gruff vocal there leads to the more open chorus and “The Wolf Bites Back” makes its way through twists and turns remaining nonetheless memorable all the way.

ORANGE GOBLIN DAVID BOULONGNE

The aforementioned “Renegade” follows and pushes the throttle to the fullest it’s gone yet — “Suicide Division” will top it for sheer speed — and Millard‘s bass opening leading the way into the subsequent “Swords of Fire” not only reconfirms his place as Orange Goblin‘s not-so-secret-secret-weapon, but also sets a doomier tone to the track itself, as Ward waits until the song is more than halfway over to start the vocals, everything dropping out for a moment as Hoare quickly establishes a faster riff and the band shift into a more thrusting progression. Highlight cut “Ghosts of the Primitives,” with an immediate groove and intricate guitar style, pushes into a more standard riff soon enough but never quite loses its proggy edge, even as Hoare dips into a bluesy solo backed by Millard and Turner. Messing with structure and expectation, the real hook doesn’t arrive until shortly before four minutes into the total 5:28, and Orange Goblin earn bonus points in charm for the meta fade-out-and-back-in-and-out-again that accompanies the line “Ghosts of the primitives fade away.” You see, because he’s talking about fading and the song faded out. Sometimes nothing else will do, and though one assumes it wraps side A, it’s to the band’s credit that “Ghosts of the Primitives” doesn’t close the album as a whole, as that’s usually where such tricky fades happen.

A swath of strums and leads in “In Bocca al Lupo” — the underlying rhythm of which would seem to coincidentally call to mind Neurosis‘ “Stones from the Sky” — introduce side B before, again, “Suicide Division” rip them to shreds, gang vocals and all. That stretch of three tracks, with “In Bocca al Lupo,” “Suicide Division” and “The Stranger,” is as disjointed as The Wolf Bites Back gets, hopping between three different styles in the span of three songs and about 10 minutes total, throwing caution and continuity to the wind and trusting — rightly — that their craft will carry them through. It’s not the kind of move a band would make earlier in their career, but for longtime Orange Goblin fans, the instant swapping out of one side of their personality for another (and another) is an easy jump to make, and frankly, it makes the album more exciting since they actually pull it off. By the time the chorus of “The Stranger” hits, and really before that, they’ve succeeded in the shift, and the arrival of organ in the song’s second half is like a victory lap for the turn just made. A psycho shuffle in “Burn the Ships” brings The Wolf Bites Back back to ground stylistically, returning to the core straightforward approach of the opening duo early while saving a Pepper Keenan-style vocal for the midsection to provide a bit more context to “The Stranger” before it and saving its most vicious groove for the return to the chorus near the more winding finish.

With its long fade-in at the outset, “Zeitgeist” seems to be of a kind with “Ghosts of the Primitives,” which is fair enough since it wraps side B and thus the album as a whole, with Ward adding some echo behind a quick bridge following the first chorus and Hoare layering solos over top each other give a particular NWOBHM affect as the organ subtly returns beneath. A second stage lead takes hold just past the halfway mark, leading back to the hook and bridge, the latter repeated, and as the line “The search goes on and on…” echoes out, HoareMillard and Turner lock in for the last dive into the fadeout, the latter two holding together the rhythm as Hoare solos over top. The ending is as clean and purposeful as everything before it, and in addition to answering back the side A finale, it speaks one more time to the fact that all along throughout The Wolf Bites Back, it’s been the songwriting holding the album together. One doesn’t doubt that Orange Goblin could write a sloppier record and probably nail some of the turns they do here in terms of style, but the fact that they not only do what they do, but do it and maintain a full-album flow, present a collection of memorable tracks and still manage to sound like their mission is nothing more or less than kicking every ass in sight, well, that’s why Orange Goblin are Orange Goblin. Over their years, their influence has justifiably spread to a generation of London heavy rockers, and The Wolf Bites Back is the latest manifestation of why that is. In its energy, persona and vibe, as well as in its basic sound, The Wolf Bites Back shows Orange Goblin at the top of their game.

Orange Goblin, “Sons of Salem”

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Spinefarm Records website

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce UK Tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry and Black Moth

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Can you frickin’ imagine C.O.C. and Orange Goblin on the same bill? I’m sorry, but that’s just awesome. Both will be supporting new records — for Corrosion of Conformity, it’s earlier-this-year’s No Cross No Crown (review here), and for Orange Goblin, the impending The Wolf Bites Back (review later this week) — and with support from Fireball Ministry, lest we forget their own new album, Remember the Story (review here), which came out toward the end of 2017 — and Black Moth, the proceedings are all the more righteous for those who’ll be fortunate enough to witness them.

As fate and clever timing would have it, C.O.C. were in the UK this weekend playing Download and they’ve got another date in Colchester tonight ahead of hitting mainland Europe tomorrow to begin a tour that includes a couple dates meeting up with Converge and a stop at Hellfest. This of course will lead to the next tour, which is another run with Black Label Society in the States following up on the one at the start of the year. That’s in July/August, then in Oct./Nov. it’s back to the UK for the aforementioned excellence alongside Orange Goblin et al. It’s been a busy year for these dudes, especially as they’ve been largely without drummer Reed Mullin, who’s been unable to tour with the band following knee surgery and is, as of the last social media post on the subject, understandably anxious to return.

The PR wire brings the latest, but really, the point here is go see C.O.C. You have the means, motive and opportunity, so make it happen:

corrosion of conformity photo by Dean Karr

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY To Kick Off European Tour This Weekend; Band Confirms Fall UK Dates + Second Leg Of North American Tour With Black Label Society And Eyehategod Nears

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will return to Europe this weekend for a stretch of live dates set to commence June 9th and run through June 24th. The journey includes special performances with Converge as well as appearances at Download, Hellfest, Copenhell, and Graspop. In July, the band will return to North American stages to kick off the second leg of their tour supporting Black Label Society. Slated to begin July 15th, the tour will make its way through nearly two dozen cities upon its conclusion on August 11th. Additional support will again be provided by Eyehategod. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will close their summer live takeover with a performance at Loud And Heavy Fest in Fort Worth Texas sharing the stages with the likes of Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers! In October, the band will take on an eight-date UK headlining tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, and Black Moth. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY continues to tour in support of their critically lauded No Cross No Crown full-length, released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
6/09/2018 Download – Donnington Park, UK
6/11/2018 Colchester Arts Centre – Colchester, UK
6/12/2018 FortaRock – Nijmegen, NL
6/13/2018 Den Atelier – Luxembourg, LU
6/14/2018 Universum – Stuttgart, DE
6/16/2018 Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln, CH
6/17/2018 Santeria Social Club – Milan, IT
6/18/2018 Orion – Rome, IT w/ Converge
6/19/2018 VAZ Hafen – Innsbruck, AU w/ Converge
6/20/2018 La Belle Electrique – Grenoble, FR w/ Converge
6/22/2018 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
6/23/2018 Copenhell – København, DK
6/24/2018 Graspop – Dessel, BE

w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod:
7/15/2018 Inkcarceration Music Festival @ Ohio State Reformatory – Mansfield, OH *
7/16/2018 Monarch Music Hall – Peoria, IA *
7/17/2018 The Forge – Joliet, IL *
7/18/2018 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI
7/20/2018 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
7/21/2018 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
7/22/2018 Cotillion Ballroom – Wichita, KS
7/23/2018 The District – Sioux Falls, SD
7/25/2018 The Clyde Theatre – Wayne, IN
7/27/2018 Si Hall At The Fairgrounds – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2018 Impact Music Festival – Bangor, ME
7/29/2018 The Webster – Hartford, CT*
7/30/2018 The Queen – Wilmington, DE
8/01/2018 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, TN
8/02/2018 The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
8/03/2018 Phase 2 – Lynchburg, VA
8/05/2018 The Norva – Norfolk, VA
8/07/2018 Rebel – Toronto, ON
8/08/2018 Metlus – Montreal, QC
8/09/2018 Sherman Theater – Stroudsburg, PA
8/10/2018 Paramount – Huntington, NY
8/11/2018 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/18/2018 Loud And Heavy Fest @ Panther Island Pavilion – Fort Worth, TX w/ Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers

w/ Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, Black Moth:
10/26/2018 Engine Rooms – Southampton, UK
10/27/2018 02 Institute – Birmingham, UK
10/28/2018 Rock City – Nottingham, UK
10/30/2018 Ritz – Manchester, UK
11/01/2018 02 ABC- Glasgow, UK
11/02/2018 Plug – Sheffield, UK
11/03/2018 The Great Hall – Lardiff, UK
11/04/2018 02 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
* No Eyehategod

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

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Witchsorrow to Release Hexenhammer May 25; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

witchsorrow

Preorders are up now for Hexenhammer, the fourth full-length from UK doom trio Witchsorrow and the follow-up to their 2015 offering, No Light, Only Fire (review here), which will be released on May 25 via Spinefarm Records. The three-piece were a doomly thrill to catch last September at the inaugural Emerald Haze fest (review here), and I can only say I’ve been looking forward to hearing new stuff from them ever since. As it happens, they have a track streaming right now called “Demons of the Mind,” and I’ve included it at the bottom of this post. I can’t actually make the stream work because I’m running wifi off my phone because — well, because life is fucking complicated sometimes — but needless to say I’m planning on checking it out as soon as I’m able.

The PR wire brought news to make it all official:

witchsorrow hexenhammer

WITCHSORROW TO RELEASE FOURTH ALBUM HEXENHAMMER VIA CANDLELIGHT RECORDS ON MAY 25

FIRST TRACK “DEMONS OF THE MIND” AVAILABLE NOW

Hampshire doom metal maniacs Witchsorrow will release their fourth studio album, Hexenhammer on May 25 via Candlelight/Spinefarm Records.

Written during a hermetic period following an intense run of live shows, and recorded at Skyhammer studio in Cheshire with longtime co-conspirator Chris Fielding (Conan, Primordial, Electric Wizard), and mastered at the legendary Orgone studios by Jaime “Gomez” Arellano (Ghost, Paradise Lost), the seven featured songs find Witchsorrow continuing to explore the darker corners of doom, illuminating them with the blinding light of sheer heavy metal forged of the strongest steel. It’s an almost anthemic soundtrack to the end of the world lyrics.

“I’ve always been obsessed with the end of the world,” explains vocalist/guitarist Necroskull. “On previous albums, I’ve been wanting it to happen, because I was caught in a very dark place. On No Light, Only Fire, I was almost angry that it hadn’t happened. Now, it’s a massively confusing time where we’re basically staring at it and waiting for it. I have no solutions. There are none to be had.”

If 2018 needs a soundtrack to its madness, Witchsorrow have provided it. Heavier, darker, doomier, and more metal than ever before, with a title relating to “Malleus Maleficarum” (“The Hammer of Witches”), a famous fifteenth century treatise, perfectly captured in the artwork by legendary Italian metal artist Paolo Girardi (Diocletian, Inquisition, Bell Witch), one of doom’s leading lights have made the perfect album for our times.

Digital and physical pre-orders for Hexenhammer are now live HERE.

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Witchsorrow, “Demons of the Mind”

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From Beyond Premiere “The Fall to Earth” from The Band From Beyond

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

from beyond

Safe to say that the debut full-length from Austin, Texas, heavy rockers From Beyond has been a while in the making. Six years at least. The four-piece, who signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm last summer with word of getting the album out in the Fall, have set an April 20 release for what’s been dubbed The Band From Beyond with a clever sense of deceptiveness in that they are both actually called From Beyond and throughout the album they show an affinity for classic horror and sci-fi, and so the title works on that level as well, like some grainy black and white horror flick you end up watching in the middle of the night on a tube television during your formative years after everyone else has gone to bed, forever warping your young mind and REM patterns as you fall asleep on the couch with the flashing lights and screams peppering their way into your subconscious.

By the way, any band that starts calling out Coffin Joe titles — see “At Midnght” — is cool by me.

All told, The Band From Beyond teems with vibrancy at a vinyl-ready 42-minutes and 14 tracks, and while the band has put an obvious focus on getting the most out of individual songs — there are times where the record reads like a choose-your-adventure book as it moves from track to track, especially early on through direct-standout cuts like “The Fall to Earth,” “Blooming Sun” and “The Slip.” But intro pieces like “11:59,” which precedes the particularly Uncle Acidic (though one also gets shades of fellow Texans From Beyond The Band From BeyondVenomous Maximus) “At Midnight,” the opening “Invocation” that leads into “The Fall to Earth,” the acoustic “White Marble” ahead of the pre-outro finale “Black Mirror” — as well, of course, as the JohnCarpenter-horror-cinema synth that follows and rounds out on “Synthetic Skin Pt. 1,” mirroring the earlier “The Color into Space,” which complements and flows into “The Color out of Space, — and so on, serve a critical function in not only tying together with whichever cut they happen to lead into or out of, but also adding complexity to the some more straightforward arrangements from Rob (guitar, vocals, synth), Dave (guitar), Brooks (bass, vocals, synth) and Anthony (drums, vocals) and giving The Band From Beyond a more resonant full-album flow.

As the record careens through the Queens of the Stone Age-plus-synth-style “The Slip” or the later “Machine Gun,” which adds gang shouts to the mix, From Beyond‘s intentions toward sonic individualism become all the more palpable, and though they again seem to reference Uncle Acid on “Blooming Sun” (the repeated lyric “I’ll cut you down” arrives amid further QOTSA elements), taken in context of the larger riffing of “The Color out of Space,” the Nine Inch Nails-with-better-melody-style brooding early on “Lost Way” that leads to a largesse of chug and synth drama that foreshadows some of the the lumbering roll and Alice in Chainsian low-in-the-mouth vocals of “Black Mirror” later on, the album is varied through straightforward hooks like that of the desert rocking “Laura Palmer” but no less memorable or based around quality songcraft in “The Slip” or “The Fall to Earth,” which culls together various impulses between grunge, heavy rock and progressive doom in order to make the first of The Band From Beyond‘s crater-worthy impacts.

Though arrangements prove complex and diverse throughout as From Beyond work in a range of moods, styles and tempos, ultimately their debut album holds itself together with a surprising fluidity considering the amount of ground actually being covered. It’s hard to get a full sense of that in one track, whether it’s the melancholy heft that emerges in “Lost Way” or the pure thrust of “Machine Gun” or the flourish that the interludes bring to the surrounding material. I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of “The Fall to Earth” ahead of the album’s release in April, and you’ll find the track below, followed by a quote from the band and more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

From Beyond on “The Fall to Earth”:

I wrote “The Fall to Earth” on keys, with what was originally just the progression, and then the melody. I loved the way it felt to play, but when I plugged it into my Juno-106, it turned into something more than I could have expected. I wanted this song to be heavier than gravity. I think we achieved that in spades.

From Beyond are otherworldly and ominous. The music on their Candlelight debut lives up to the implications of the Texas band’s moniker. Sonically, the quartet-Rob [guitars, vocals, synthesizers], Dave [guitar, effects], Brooks [bass, synthesizers, vocals], and Anthony [drums, vocals]-gracefully resemble an orchestra of Kyuss, Soundgarden, and Rush, as if they were conducted by John Carpenter.

The band will release its full-length debut The Band From Beyond on April 20 via Candlelight Records.

On their debut, From Beyond wanted to do something that was steeped in psychedelic horror. They did so by fusing movie elements from the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Films like Simon King of the Witches, Psychomania, and the work of Coffin Joe come to mind. At the same time, I love the scores for Escape from New York and Halloween. I got really into that sparse and minimal approach to synthesis. I wanted to bring those elements to music inspired by Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft,” frontman Rob McCarthy explains.

In order to capture that combination, the band hunkered down in an Austin, Texas studio with The Sword bassist Bryan Richie in the producer’s chair. Over the course of seven days, they tracked the 14 songs comprising The Band From Beyond, utilizing everything from guitars to vintage analog synths and mellotron.

THE BAND FROM BEYOND TRACK LISTING:
1. Invocation
2. The Fall to Earth
3. Blooming Sun
4. The Slip
5. Lost Way
6. The Color Into Space
7. The Color Out of Space
8. 11:59
9. At Midnight
10. Laura
11. Machine Gun
12. White Marble
13. Black Mirror
14. Synthetic Skin Pt. 1

The Band From Beyond preorders

From Beyond on Thee Faceboks

From Beyond on Bandcamp

Spinefarm Records on The Facebooks

Spinefarm Records on Twitter

Spinefarm Records website

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Orange Goblin to Release The Wolf Bites Back this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

London doom rock magnates Orange Goblin have set a summer release through Spinefarm Records for their anxiously awaited new album, The Wolf Bites Back. The UK scene kingpins entered the studio little more than a month ago to begin the recording process with Jaime Gomez Arellano at the helm, and while that alone might lead one to expect a continuation of the more metallic side of the band that surfaced on their last studio record, 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), the simple fact that here we are about five weeks later and the new album is done, named and announced speaks to what must have been a pretty organic recording process.

Anticipation is high for the next Orange Goblin, to be sure, and with a summer release, the band already have live dates announced to support The Wolf Bites Back, including suitably high-profile appearances at Hellfest in France this June and Summer Breeze in Germany this August.

As posted on the social medias:

ORANGE GOBLIN DAVID BOULONGNE

ORANGE GOBLIN – NEW ALBUM NEWS – THE WOLF BITES BACK!

ORANGE GOBLIN have finished work on their upcoming new album and are preparing for its summer release.

The legendary British rock band holed up at Orgone Studios with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost, Cathedral) to create their latest opus, titled ‘The Wolf Bites Back’. The resulting nine track album will be the band’s ninth studio release and will be released via Candlelight/ Spinefarm Records worldwide.

Vocalist, Ben Ward, commented “We are very excited about this new album. The Wolf Bites Back is our strongest and most diverse collection of songs to date, it’s certainly a lot darker both musically and lyrically. It is still definitely a distinct ORANGE GOBLIN album but we have incorporated a lot more variation on this record and there are hints of Can, Captain Beyond, Wishbone Ash and The Stooges nestling amongst the obvious Sabbath and Motorhead influences. Lyrically I have explored everything from alien serial killers to zombie biker gangs, Buddhist warriors through to descendants of the Salem witches!”

“There was definitely a concerted effort to make sure all the songs could work in a live environment which gives the album a more raw, stripped back feel – something that I feel has been lacking from good rock and metal in recent years. Working with Jaime Gomez Arellano was really productive and a great experience, especially going back to tracking stuff to tape. I feel that he got the best out of all of us as musicians and songwriters and that really comes across in the songs, there is an air of confidence and experience. It was also a real honour for us to have Phil Campbell of Motorhead lending his hand to a couple of solos on there too!”

The full track list and artwork will be released at a later date, but the band have confirmed titles such as Sons of Salem, Ghosts Of The Primitives, Burn The Ships, Zeitgeist and Suicide Division. Artwork will be created by Roland Scriver at Familiar Ink.

The Wolf Bites Back is scheduled for a June 2018 release.

Orange Goblin live:
Mar 31 – Paaspop, Schijndel, NL
Apr 07 – Durbuy Rock Fest, Durbuy, BE
Apr 27 – Impetus Fest (@ Le Docks), Lausanne, CH
May 04 – Planet Club, Rome, IT
May 05 – Dagda Club, Rotorbido, IT
Jun 16 – Stone Free (@ o2 Indigo), London, UK
Jun 23 – Hellfest, Clisson, FR
Aug 11 – Alcatraz Metal Fest, Kortrijk, BE
Aug 18 – Summer Breeze, Dinkelsbuhl, DE
Sep 08 – Summer Dying Loud, Aleksandrow Lodzki, PL

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Orange Goblin, Live at Desertfest Athens 2017

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Orange Goblin Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

UK stalwarts Orange Goblin have entered Orgone Studios in London with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano at the helm to begin tracking their ninth full-length. Presumably set for release later this year, what will be an awaited follow-up to 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) also marks a significant turn for the four-piece of vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner in being their first offering to be issued through Spinefarm Records, which signed them in 2016.

Though its been four years since their last offering arrived, Orange Goblin have hardly rested in that time. In addition to a complete touring cycle, they could still be found supporting Back from the Abyss last year at festivals like SonicBlast Moledo, Up in Smoke 2017, Desertfest Athens 2017 and, in their only US appearance, Ozzfest Meets Knotfest last Fall in California. Their influence having expanded greatly in their native England and well beyond, anticipation will no doubt be high when it comes to hearing what they bring to their next collection of material. I know I’m looking forward to it, to put it mildly.

In that regard, the choice of Arellano as producer is particularly striking. His metal pedigree is long and storied in producing, engineering and mastering, but recent years have found him directly associated with the output of Rise Above Records and groups like With the Dead, Ghost, Death Penalty and The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. Of course, Orange Goblin have their history with releases through Rise Above as well, and Arellano has also recently sat behind the board on records for Sólstafir and Paradise Lost, but his involvement adds another level of intrigue to what’s in store with the new Orange Goblin LP when it arrives.

The band marked the occasion of arriving at the studio by posting a couple pictures and a quick update on the social medias, which you’ll find below. More to come:

orange goblin

It begins! Day one of recording album #9 at Orgone Studios with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost, Ghost, Cathedral etc..) We are very excited about this one!!

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Orange Goblin, Live at Desertfest Athens 2017

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Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard: This Dying World

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Electric Wizard Wizard Bloody Wizard

And so the scumbag overlords return to once more claim their position at the top of the heap they’ve made. Electric Wizard are inarguably one of the most influential doom bands of their generation, with nearly 30 years of history going back to guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn‘s founding of Lord of Putrefaction in 1988, which begat Thy Grief Eternal circa 1991 before taking shape as Electric Wizard ahead of the band’s 1995 self-titled debut. In the 22 years since that record hit, much has changed, of course, but with their ninth long-player, Wizard Bloody Wizard — licensed to Spinefarm Records through the band’s own Witchfinder Records imprint — the band reaffirms much of what has led to their longevity in terms of style and songwriting.

In some ways, the Dorset, UK-based outfit have existed in their own shadow since marking something of a comeback with 2007’s landmark Witchcult Today (discussed here), and subsequent LPs, Black Masses (review here) in 2010 and Time to Die (review here) in 2014, found the group working to develop ideas and themes largely along similar lines, and largely succeeding, but as Oborn, guitarist Liz Buckingham, bassist Clayton Burgess (also Satan’s Satyrs) and drummer Simon Poole step into the willfully-crafted muck of Wizard Bloody Wizard‘s six-track/42-minute span, they bring something of a pivot toward a rawer, less directly cultish sound. The change is due if not overdue and has been part of the discussion for as long as the band has been talking about the proverbial “next album,” but to have it manifest here in songs like “Necromania” and “Wicked Caresses” underscores the band’s tie between holding fast to the elements that have worked in their favor since classic outings like 1997’s Come My Fanatics… and 2000’s Dopethrone (discussed here) and attempting to move forward into a pivot in style if not an actual leap.

The trick to Electric Wizard is and has been for at least the last decade that they sound like the human embodiment of fuckall. One can put on an Electric Wizard track like the chugging, feedback-laden “See You in Hell,” hear Oborn‘s addled drawl, the rawness of tone and the lumbering progression, and hear a signature attitude on the part of the band that seems to advocate checking out of life by following its example at having already long since done so. This has made the band forerunners in witch doom, wizard doom, cult doom, garage doom — whatever you want to call it — but as a feat of craft it’s all the more impressive when one engages the details.

To wit, if they actually didn’t give a crap, Wizard Bloody Wizard wouldn’t be nearly as impeccably mixed as it is, promoting depth as well as a touch of atmosphere while still fostering barebones tonality and an overarching lack of flourish in all tracks save perhaps for the three-minute horror-themed drifter interlude “The Reaper.” Poole‘s drums wouldn’t come through as clearly and crisply as they do if they were actually lazily tracked, and frankly, songs like “Necromania,” “Hear the Sirens Scream” and “Wicked Caresses” wouldn’t be nearly as catchy as they are while also feeding into a larger, full-LP flow that presents “See You in Hell,” “Necromania” and “Hear the Sirens Scream” as a one-two-three salvo of hooks on side A while sleeking deeper into the VHS-grit mire on side B with “The Reaper” before returning to solid ground on “Wicked Caresses” before letting consciousness fade at last on 11-minute closer “Mourning of the Magicians.” None of this is haphazard, whatever superficial impressions the band might make — and want to make — to the contrary.

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On their own level, Electric Wizard are absolute professionals — arguably all the more so here since they’re recording themselves and releasing in part through their own label — and the maturity of their approach comes through this material without sacrificing its dark vitality or the core attitude necessary to carry it. Oh yeah, a part sounds sloppy? It’s supposed to. That’s the idea. The filthier, the nastier Electric Wizard are able to come across, the more they’ve succeeded in realizing one of their most essential tenets. And among the generation of imitators they’ve spawned, almost no one has been able to do the same thing as well as they do it. Wizard Bloody Wizard, with its tossoff Sabbathian title, classless cover art, and seeming trashcan simplicity of presentation, reaffirms all of it. Electric Wizard have beat the system. Again.

Their themes as ever set in drugs, horror, murder, disaffection, and so on, one might accuse Oborn and company of playing to familiar elements in their work — still, in other words, existing in that shadow. As “Mourning of the Magicians” talks about the children of Saturn amid its intertwining layers of chug and wah-caked lead guitar, and “Necromania” seems to call back to “Venus in Furs” from Black Masses in its psychosexual vibe, that argument might prove valid, but there’s no question that in texture and overarching sound, Electric Wizard have indeed pulled off a turn in these tracks, away from the swirl and toward the churn, generally speaking. That’s not to say the organ-led “The Reaper” or the dirge-marching “Mourning of the Magicians” — in the chorus of which Oborn delivers the title-line to “See You in Hell,” tying the first and last songs together for yet another display of underlying cohesion — are lacking in ambience, just that they take a slightly different route to get there than they might have on the last couple records.

Whatever else they do sonically or in terms of songwriting, Electric Wizard brook no middle ground when it comes to opinion. “Yes!” or “Yuck!,” but almost never “meh,” in terms of audience responses, and whichever category a given listener might fall into, one doubts Wizard Bloody Wizard will do much to sway the opinions of those whose minds are already made up, but when engaged on its own level and taken in appreciation for the subtlety that exists beneath its purposefully harsh and at times gleefully wretched exterior, there’s little else one can call it but the band’s finest work in the decade since Witchcult Today. It may or may not be the beginning of a next stage of their already storied and massively successful career — and in a way that’s not something we can know until they follow it up — but by changing the balance of aspects already relevant to their style, Electric Wizard have managed to find new life in their craft while still cloaking themselves in the unmistakable stink of death. There’s a reason they are who they are.

Electric Wizard, “See You in Hell” official video

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Electric Wizard Evoke Classic Sabbath in “See You in Hell” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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You know the clip, right? Almost certainly if you’re of a certain age and were a witness to the original coming of Beavis and Butt-Head on MTV. It’s Black Sabbath standing in front of a blue-screen with a bunch of weird projections playing out behind them and then “Iron Man” plays and they do the riff and Beavis calls out one of the heads for looking like Paul Schaffer and you’re a kid and it’s the ’90s and so everything’s hilarious but it’s also maybe the first time you’re really hearing Black Sabbath and they’re also kind of kicking your ass in a way you can’t really articulate yet. Relive the nostalgia here. A pretty emotionally complex moment — again, if you’re of a certain age — and it would seem to be that precise video with which Electric Wizard are in dialogue in their new clip for “See You in Hell.” Not by any means a bad choice.

“See You in Hell” is the opening track on Electric Wizard‘s forthcoming LP, Wizard Bloody Wizard, which is out Nov. 10 via Spinefarm Records and the band’s own Witchfinder Records imprint. The song doesn’t actually deliver its own title line — that comes later in the 11-minute closer “Mourning of the Magicians” — but it does leadoff the record with a telling display of tone and set the very-much-ElectricWizardly perspective in its hook, “This dying world gasps its last breath as we turn off our minds/All hope is lost/There’ll be no new dawn/And all of your dreams will die.” Yeah, the start-stop riff is awesome, and yeah, Electric Wizard — guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn, guitarist Liz Buckingham, bassist Clayton Burgess (also Satan’s Satyrs) and drummer Simon Poole — sound filthy as hell, but I think one of the least appreciated aspects of what they do and what Oborn does as a songwriter is make nihilism catchy.

Yeah, you’re high and don’t give a shit about anything and that’s great, but on the other hand you just made your fuckall one of 2017’s catchiest hooks. It’s the great irony of Electric Wizard‘s work and in cuts like “Necromania” and “Wicked Caresses,” it’s as prevalent as ever throughout Wizard Bloody Wizard.

More to come on the album (like, say, a review) as we get closer to the release date. In the meantime, dig into the classic Sabbo-vibe of “See You in Hell” and enjoy:

Electric Wizard, “See You in Hell” official video

UK cult legends ELECTRIC WIZARD have premiered the video for the new song “See You in Hell,” which singer/guitarist Jus Osborn called “the most brutally simple and Neanderthal song ever.”

The song appears on Wizard Bloody Wizard, the long-anticipated new LP, which is full of cranium-crushing bludgeon rock – a relentless aural brain rape and, like the band’s beloved vintage horror/exploitation movies, definitely not for those of a nervous disposition.

Wizard Bloody Wizard arrives via Witchfinder/Spinefarm on November 10.

ELECTRIC WIZARD ARE:
Jus Oborn – guitar/vocals
Liz Buckingham – guitar
Simon Poole – drums
Clayton Burgess – bass

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