Orange Goblin Reissuing Healing Through Fire Aug. 20; More Live Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin (Photo by Tina Korhonen, all rights reserved)

As I recall, Orange Goblin‘s 2007 offering, Healing Through Fire, went through copious shenanigans before finally seeing US release through Sanctuary Records. Great record. And it never really got its due, at least in the States. “Cities of Frost,” “The Ballad of Solomon Eagle,” “They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls,” on and on. This is Orange Goblin at their most fuckin’ doom, and I’ll put it against anything in their catalog before or after. The Sanctuary version originally came as a CD/DVD with this Mean Fidder show from 2006 as a video, but, well, I don’t think they even make DVD players at this point, so doing it as a live album is probably a better call. For me, I’ll take the BBC live tracks and the demos as well, thank you kindly.

There’s a bevvy of Orange Goblin news as they look to break out post-COVID and start to play shows — their first is next weekend — with new bassist Harry Armstrong. Live dates have been announced for a Scandinavian tour, and they’re headlining the Uprising fest on Sept. 11, and they’ve still got their holiday tour this December as well. Much going on.

The following is culled from their social medias:

orange goblin healing through fire

We’re re-issuing the ‘Healing Through Fire’ album as a deluxe 2CD set featuring 27 tracks and a wealth of bonus material via our friends Dissonance Productions and Cherry Red Records !!!


Disc 1 features the original album, remastered, and adds four BBC Radio One Rock Show Session tracks, as well as three demos from 2006, including a raucous cover of The Damned’s ‘New Rose’.

Disc 2 contains a full 11 track live set recorded at the Mean Fiddler in London in 2006, showcasing the Orange Goblin live experience in all its high volume high octane glory.

Boasting updated artwork with liner notes from the guys, and housed in a deluxe double digipack, the new edition of ‘Healing Through Fire’ is considered by the band to be the definitive version

Track Listing:

1. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle
2. Vagrant Stomp
3. The Ale House Braves
4. Cities of Frost
5. Hot Knives and Open Sores
6. Hounds Ditch
7. Mortlake (Dead Water)
8. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
9. Beginners Guide to Suicide
10. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle (Radio One Rock Show 17.08.07)
11. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) (Radio One Rock Show 17.08.07)
12. Scorpionica (Radio One Rock Show 17.08.07)
13. Blue Snow (Radio One Rock Show 17.08.07)
14. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle (2006 Demo)
15. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) (2006 Demo)
16. New Rose (2006 Demo)

1. Intro
2. Some You Win, Some You Lose
3. Quincy the Pig Boy
4. Getting High on the Bad Times
5. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle
6. Hot Magic, Red Planet
7. Round Up the Horses
8. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
9. Your World Will Hate This
10. Blue Snow
11. Scorpionica


We are delighted to announce that Orange Goblin will headline this awesome bill at Uprising, to be held at the o2 Academy, Leicester UK on Saturday 11th September 2021. Also joining us there across the weekend of the 10th-12th September will be Raging Speedhorn, Heart of A Coward, Diamond Head, Ingested, Mage, Shrapnel, Divine Chaos and many more.


Tickets for our ‘The Cold North’ Scandinavian Tour in November 2021 are on sale NOW from the link below:

Support on all dates comes from Swedish rockers Bürner.

Full set of dates as follows:

Orange Goblin live:
Sat 31 Jul – The Yard, Cornwall, UK
Sun 15 Aug – Bloodstock Open Air (Main Stage), UK
Sunday 22 Aug – Dynamo Metalfest, Eindhoven, NL
Sat 02 Oct – Headbangers Balls Festival, Izegem, BE
Fri 05 Nov – Night of Salvation (Damnation Fest), Leeds, UK
Sat 04 Dec – Dome of Rock Festival, Salzburg, AT
Wed 08 Dec – The Booking Hall, Dover, UK
Thu 09 Dec – The Tivoli, Buckley, UK
Fri 10 Dec – Limelight 2, Belfast, UK
Sat 11 Dec – Grand Social, Dublin, IRE
Mon 13 Dec – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK
Tue 14 Dec – Gorilla, Manchester, UK
Wed 15 Dec – Asylum, Birmingham, UK
Thu 16 Dec – The Globe, Cardiff, UK
Fri 17 Dec – The Underworld, London, UK
Sat 18 Dec – The Underworld, London, UK

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Harry Armstrong – Bass / Backing vocals
Christopher Turner – Drums

Orange Goblin, Healing Through Fire (2007)

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Orange Goblin Confirm New Bassist Harry Armstrong

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

The last time Orange Goblin changed their lineup for real was 2004, when they bid farewell to guitarist Pete O’Malley, who was never replaced. For the London kingpins to welcome a new bassist as a permanent member, replacing a founder of the band, is a big deal. Harry Armstrong — who was in Hangnail, who you should check out; veterans of both Man’s Ruin and Rise Above, if that helps put you in motion; End of Level Boss were cool too — must be a really good dude, and I say that with the utmost sincerity since I don’t think he’d be in the band otherwise. After 26 years together, Orange Goblin aren’t just hiring a gun to handle low end. You’re talking about a familial relationship between these players.

Martyn Millard‘s final shows with the band were livestreamed from London. I know they did a live record last year (discussed here), but hell, if you’ve got the recordings anyway, maybe throw them up on Bandcamp? I don’t even care if they’re mixed. I’ll take a soundboard bootleg any day.

July 31 will be Armstrong‘s first show with Orange Goblin, and it leads into a few festival dates as well as their annual holiday tour around the UK, which, you know, delayed and pushed back and all the rest. As a fan, I’m happy to see them getting out. Wouldn’t mind a new record either, but yeah.

The PR wire made it official, as it will:

orange goblin Photo by Tina Korhonen, all rights reserved

Orange Goblin announce new bass player following departure of Martyn Millard

Legendary UK metal band ORANGE GOBLIN have announced that Harry Armstrong (formerly of Decomposed, Hangnail, Earls of Mars, End of Level Boss and current frontman of Blind River) will be joining the band as a permanent replacement for Martyn Millard, a founding member and bass player for the past 26 years, who played his last shows with Orange Goblin this past weekend in London as part of their special 25 Year Anniversary celebration shows that were also livestreamed around the world.

Harry joins Orange Goblin immediately and his first show with the band will now be at The Yard in Cornwall on Saturday 31st July. Support at this show comes from Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Massive Wagons, Raging Speedhorn, White Raven Down and Mother Vulture.

Asked about the changing of the guard, the band issued the following statement:

‘It is with very heavy hearts that the day has come and we finally say goodbye to our founding member, bass player, lifelong brother and best friend Martyn Millard. Martyn has made the very hard decision to step down from Orange Goblin and given us his blessing to continue with the band, something that we understand and accept. Things will never be the same without the thunder that only Martyn can bring but this opens a new chapter in the Orange Goblin story. We all thank Martyn for his contribution and sacrifices to Orange Goblin over the course of the past 26 years and wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next. We know that none of the things this band has achieved since the start would have been possible without his commitment, passion and talent and we are eternally grateful for that.

When Martyn informed us of his decision to leave there was only one person that all of us instantly and fully agreed on to fill the huge shoes that Martyn leaves, and so we would like to give a massive welcome to our long time friend and conspirator Harry Armstrong, as he joins Orange Goblin as the new bass player. Harry has been a part of the family since day one, his enthusiasm, talent and encyclopedic knowledge of heavy metal means that he is perfectly suited for the band and we look forward to what the future brings with this new line-up. We have all been fans of Harry and his musical output throughout his career (Decomposed, Hangnail, End of Level Boss, The Earls of Mars, Noisepicker, The Winchester Club, Blind River….the list goes on) and we have toured together, drunk together and laughed together enough to know that he is the perfect man for the job. We are about to sign a new record deal and Harry will play a vital role in the writing of the next record. Please join us in wishing Martyn a fond farewell and at the same time welcoming Harry Armstrong as the new bass player in Orange Goblin.’

– Ben, Joe and Chris – Orange Goblin, June 2021

And the departing Martyn Millard commented:

‘After thinking over my decision for some time, I informed Ben, Chris and Joe, over Christmas 2019 that I would depart at the end of 2020. It’s the hardest decision I have ever had to make but ultimately the correct one for all concerned. I love this band, its music, its members, its fans and all it stands for. It’s been my life for 26 years. But I just knew that my time had come to step aside. I will always be part of this ongoing story and I will continue supporting my best friends from the side of the stage.

So, thoughts turned to a new bass player. It was never about ‘replacing’ me. It’s always been about someone fitting what the band needed and required for it to progress smoothly and about the new guy or girl feeling as comfortable as possible in the transition. COVID scuppered that slightly but in the main only 1 name fitted the role from the start. Harry Armstrong. He shares the bands goals, musical tastes, sense of humour and desire. He is an exceptional musician and singer who we know will more than fit right in perfectly.

So, join me in welcoming Harry into the family. He’ll crush it, I know he will, and finally Ben has someone who can actually sing the bloody backing vocals in key!!! Thank you again for all the messages and well wishes.

It means more than you could imagine.’

Martyn Millard, June 2021

Orange Goblin recently celebrated 25 years as a band with two shows in London following last year’s cancellations and postponement. With the new bass player now in place, the band will be hitting the road at the following shows later this year:

Sat 31 Jul – The Yard, Cornwall, UK
Sun 15 Aug – Bloodstock Open Air (Main Stage), UK
Sunday 22 Aug – Dynamo Metalfest, Eindhoven, NL
Sat 02 Oct – Headbangers Balls Festival, Izegem, BE
Fri 05 Nov – Night of Salvation (Damnation Fest), Leeds, UK
Sat 04 Dec – Dome of Rock Festival, Salzburg, AT
Wed 08 Dec – The Booking Hall, Dover, UK
Thu 09 Dec – The Tivoli, Buckley, UK
Fri 10 Dec – Limelight 2, Belfast, UK
Sat 11 Dec – Grand Social, Dublin, IRE
Mon 13 Dec – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK
Tue 14 Dec – Gorilla, Manchester, UK
Wed 15 Dec – Asylum, Birmingham, UK
Thu 16 Dec – The Globe, Cardiff, UK
Fri 17 Dec – The Underworld, London, UK
Sat 18 Dec – The Underworld, London, UK

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Harry Armstrong – Bass / Backing vocals
Christopher Turner – Drums

Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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Desertfest London 2022 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2022 banner

It’s good to see you again, Desertfest London. The 2022 lineup of the esteemed British edition of Desertfest brings some returning presences who were to have been at the 2020 edition, then the 2021 — both of course gone the way of corona. But we see Electric WizardShellac and Witchcraft in headlining spots, while Corrosion of Conformity will bring their delayed 25th anniversary of Deliverance to Camden Town, and returning kingpins Orange Goblin will play, along with YOB, TruckfightersEarthlessMy Sleeping KarmaMos GeneratorConanThe Obsessed, the reunited JosiahLowrider come for a Refractions victory lap well earned, along with Elephant TreeElderSteakDeathwhite and a ton from the UK’s own ever-blossoming underground scene — Blind MonarchThe Brothers KegKing Witch, the more established Alunah and Trippy Wicked, and so on and so many.

Note Slomosa. Note Wolftooth. I would expect both to be touring Europe around this time. Green Lung too, for that matter.

There’s no way this isn’t going to be one to remember and it is my sincere hope to be there for it. Maybe I’ll see you there. Maybe we can hug.

Kudos and thanks to the Desertscene crew — Sarika, Jake and Reece — on and for a job well done.

Here’s looking forward:

desertfest london 2022




As the home for all the things truly heavy, leading independent UK festival Desertfest have announced their full line up for 2022, which will take place in Camden, London from Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May.

Celebrating their tenth year, next year’s festival promises to be their biggest and most diverse yet. Covering six venues across the heart of Camden and now including a full line up at The Roundhouse on both Saturday 30thApril and Sunday 1st May.

Founding owner of Desertfest Reece Tee comments, “Desertfest is 10 years old! I’m so proud that our independent festival has stood the test of time. What we have created is special, a decade of great bands, great friends and amazing memories. This year’s line up is a true reflection of how diverse Desertfest has become and with such a loyal audience, Desertfest can champion the underground for decades more to come.”

Headlining the Friday will be Swedish heavy rock masters Witchcraft, with a UK exclusive performance and their first UK show in over a decade.
Saturday’s headliners are none other than Chicago’s Shellac, who in another UK exclusive will be bringing their experimental post-hardcore sound to the Roundhouse. Fronted by the iconic Steve Albini, Shellac are one of those bands we all need to experience live, at least once. Whilst closing the festival on Sunday will be UK doom legends Electric Wizard, whose heavy sound encompasses the spirit of Desertfest.

Other acts confirmed include the likes of Corrosion Of Conformity, Orange Goblin and Truckfighters who all played the festival in its debut year in 2012 and there are further UK exclusive performances from hardcore-punks Integrity and the Ukrainian psych space rock trio Somali Yacht Club.

The festival will also see desert legends Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri’s new band Stoner, who will be playing the Electric Ballroom and doomed heavy metallers Khemmis making their UK debut at The Underworld.

Please see below for the full Desertfest 2022 line up / stage splits.
Tickets are on sale now and are available at

Weekend Ticket (all venues) – £132 +fees
Friday Day Ticket (all venues) – £45 +fees
Saturday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Sunday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Saturday Roundhouse only – £35 +fees
Existing ticket holders from 2020’s postponed event have a number of options as the festival is now larger, with an added Roundhouse line-up on Saturday 30th April & Sunday 1st May.

Full refund
Weekend roll-over to 2022 without Roundhouse upgrade (access only to Electric Ballroom, Underworld, Black Heart & The Dev)
Weekend roll-over to 2022 with Roundhouse upgrade – £15 +fees
Day ticket holders can upgrade to a full weekend ticket – £92 + fees – or will be issued a refund. Upgrade options only available until May 7th ’21.
For any ticketing enquiries please contact

Desertfest 2022’s artwork is hand drawn by legendary artist Arik Roper who has created illustrations for the likes of Sleep, Earth, Sunn O))), High on Fire, Kvelertak, Windhand and many more. As always, posters and other merch will be available to buy at the festival.

Electric Wizard, Live at Desertfest London 2016

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Orange Goblin Reschedule 25th Anniversary Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Like anyone’s anything and everyone’s everything, Orange Goblin‘s anniversary live streams have been rescheduled. If you’re not currently stalking the band’s socials, you might’ve missed the stirringly emotional announcement video from bassist Martyn Millard that these performances will be his last with the band. That’s significant. Lineup changes in Orange Goblin are all but unheard of, and while it seems certain the band will continue, one wonders how a dynamic so long established will change with someone new brought on board.

But I guess with the lockdown 2.0 in the UK, Millard‘s tenure in Orange Goblin extends a little longer. Better for public health all around, really.

I genuinely had the thought of somehow flying to London for these shows, if I could get in. Now I suppose I’ll just be happy to watch at home. Also worth noting that Orange Goblin had previously scheduled UK tour dates for December, and those were already put off, so this is different from that. Complicated times, people.

From the PR wire:


ORANGE GOBLIN FORCED TO RESCHEDULE 25th Anniversary Global Live Streaming Shows

Shows now set for December 18 & 19

British heavy metal legends give lockdown the middle finger – two unique shows planned online re-scheduled for December

Having already seen their extensive plans for a 2020 25th Anniversary tour dashed by the global pandemic, UK heavy metal titans Orange Goblin recently announced not one, but TWO global live stream events celebrating all stages of the band’s lengthy existence to date. With the newly announced lockdown meaning that punters who had paid for a ticket to see the band in the flesh at these shows would not be allowed in, the band refused to give up – instead they simply re-scheduled the dates and decided that, come hell or high water, the Orange Goblin 25TH Anniversary WILL take place

Therefore, the four piece will now perform a pair of globally streamed pay-per-view shows online, still with a limited capacity live audience also in attendance, in London on December 18th and 19th.

Titled ‘From Planet Ten….to the House of God’, the first night will concentrate solely on material from the bands early, Rise Above Records era releases.

The following night’s performance goes under the name of ‘They Come Back….The Filthy & The Damned’, and will focus on songs from post-Rise Above years, right up to and including material from the acclaimed latest album ‘The Wolf Bites Back’

And the celebrations don’t end there, as each night of the online event will feature live stream exclusive behind the scene access, interviews, exclusive merchandise, chat rooms, Q&A’s and the chance to win exclusive Orange Goblin prizes! And for a very lucky few, there are extremely limited tickets available to attend the gigs in person at The Dome, in North London!

Vocalist Ben Ward is philosophical about the change of dates;

‘Obviously the second nationwide lockdown is a massive pain in the arse for everyone and now due to the venue being shut throughout November we have no choice but to reschedule these special live / live stream shows to Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December! We are very sorry to everyone for the inconvenience but we sincerely hope that everyone can still join us for what will be two very special 25th Anniversary shows and the last ever with our original bassist and best buddy Martyn Millard! All tickets previously purchased to attend the shows will still be valid for the new dates, as will any pre-purchased live stream access. It’s pretty ironic that these shows will now take place on the exact same dates as we were due to perform in London as part of the UK tour. Apologies once again for the postponement but these things are obviously out of our hands and we all hope you can all join us in December!’

Tickets for these shows via the live stream will be available at

Extremely limited physical tickets to the show ‘live in person’ are still available from

Anyone unable to attend the rescheduled dates should contact Old Empire directly for information and help

These two shows have taken on added significance in recent weeks with the news that long term bass player and founding member Martyn Millard is to leave the group after 25 years. These two dates will be his last performances with the band and a fitting way to bow out after 9 albums and countless tours and festival appearances worldwide.

Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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Orange Goblin Postpone December UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


When Orange Goblin posted their Dec. 2020 tour dates in May, it seemed optimistic but not necessarily unreasonable to think they might happen. They’ve been pushed to 2021 in the hope that by the end of next year venues will once again be allowed to hold full capacities.

At this point, I’m wondering if that’s ever going to happen, or if the idea of “capacity” itself in a building, bar, venue, whatever, is going to have to be redrawn to allow fewer people in a given space. Does that look like a band playing the same room three nights in a row to three different crowds while on tour, each show holding a third of what it “used to?” I don’t know. Does that mean tours go three times as long? Is that remotely feasible? Or does live music become something that only happens in summertime, when it’s warm enough to be done somewhere outside?

How is it ever going to happen?

Maybe by the end of next year everything will be alright. In the UK. The US is fucked forever. I mean that.

Anyway, in a spirit of crossed fingers, here’s Orange Goblin‘s Dec. 2021 tour dates:

orange goblin dec 2021


Legendary UK heavy metal four piece Orange Goblin have been forced to postpone their previously announced tour for December this year, until the same time period in 2021. In a move that will come as no surprise, the band have bowed to the inevitable and postponed their dates.

The newly scheduled shows will run as follows:

Orange Goblin UK & Ireland Tour 2021
(support Spirit Adrift & King Creature)
Wed 08 Dec – The Booking Hall, Dover, UK * (Orange Goblin only)
Thu 09 Dec – Tivoli, Buckley
Fri 10 Dec – Limelight 2, Belfast
Sat 11 Dec – Grand Social, Dublin
Mon 13 Dec – King Tuts, Glasgow
Tue 14 Dec – Gorilla, Manchester
Wed 15 Dec – Asylum, Birmingham
Thu 16 Dec – The Globe, Cardiff
Fri 17 Dec – The Underworld, London
Sat 18 Dec – The Underworld, London

All tickets purchased remain valid for the new dates, and both Dover and Buckley go on sale at 10am on Friday 11th Sept.

Vocalist Ben Ward explains the situation;

‘It is with a very heavy heart that we have to concede defeat and announce that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent venue restrictions, Orange Goblin are going to have to postpone our 25 Year Anniversary tour, scheduled for December 2020. We wanted to wait as long as possible to see whether we would be given the go ahead but with no clear indication that full capacity shows will be allowed by then we now have no choice but to reschedule for December 2021.

The safety and well being of our fans, crew, venue staff and bandmates is always the most important issue for us so we hope that you understand our situation. The new dates are already in place and any tickets already purchased will still be valid for the shows in 2021. We are also happy to say that both support bands, Spirit Adrift and King Creature, are behind this decision and will be with us when we return in 2021. We have also added a couple of extra dates, one at The Booking Hall in Dover, which will be a warm-up show for the tour (No Spirit Adrift or King Creature for that one!) and a show at the Tivoli in Buckley too. As always, we thank you for your continued support!”

Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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Orange Goblin Announce Dec. UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

On the heels of their just-issued Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (discussed here) digital live release, UK doom rock stalwarts and emergent social media masters Orange Goblin have announced their annual run of UK December shows for 2020. And hey, we all know the deal, right? These shows will happen so long as anything is happening. If the lockdown continues that long — and it very well might — then it goes without saying that the shows won’t happen. But hell’s bells, even a theoretical return to some kind of normalcy is welcome, and at this point, I’m just happy to see a list of tour dates, whether they come to fruition or not.

In addition to the live record and the tour, Orange Goblin have been holding Zoom Q&A sessions with the whole band, as well as playthrough videos with guitarist Joe Hoare and other such interactive whatnot. It’s encouraging to know that, though they could’ve in no way imagined this would be how they’d mark 25 years as a band, they’re making the most of the situation.

Here’s their post about the tour:

orange goblin uk tour


We are pleased to announce new headline tour dates for December 2020

As you know we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Orange Goblin, and we’re happy to announce our December headline tour of the UK and Ireland culminating in two very special shows at London’s The Underworld.

Ben explains:
“The world is a very strange place at the moment and we are all affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic. No one knows what the future holds and when we will get back to playing shows but we are very happy to announce that this December, Orange Goblin will (hopefully) be touring the UK to celebrate our 25 Year Anniversary.

Obviously people’s safety is the main concern for us but we wanted to get these dates out there as it’s been eating away at us for a while now and we hope that having something to look forward to will bring a tiny bit of hope and happiness into everyone’s lives right now”

Orange Goblin 25th Anniversary Tour – December 2020

Fri 11 – Dublin, Grand Social
Sat 12 – Belfast, Limelight 2
Mon 14 – Glasgow, King Tuts
Tue 15 – Manchester, Gorilla
Wed 16 – Birmingham, Asylum
Thu 17 – Cardiff, The Globe
Fri 18 – London, The Underworld
Sat 19 – London, The Underworld

December tour tickets are now on sale via – looking forward to seeing everyone on these dates and celebrating 25 years of Orange Fucking Goblin Baby!

Don’t forget you can still grab the new live record ‘Rough & Ready, Live & Loud’ via Bandcamp at – comes with an exclusive bonus track and digital booklet!

Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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Friday Full-Length: Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Live and Loud was the name of an Ozzy Osbourne live album, and sure enough, it’s only a couple songs into the newly-issued Rough & Ready, Live & Loud before vocalist Ben Ward unleashes his inner Ozz, urging the crowd to go fucking crazy, have the best fucking night together, are you with me?, and all the rest of it. Awesome. The 13-track compilation of recordings from between 2016 and 2019 arrives — today — in time to take advantage of Bandcamp waiving the fees they generally collect from album sales in an effort to support artists affected, as everyone inevitably has been, by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second time Bandcamp have done it, and with a bit of advance notice and the experience of last time, bands seem to be giving it a significant push. For good reason. I know something like one in six Americans is currently out of work, but if you can spend some time kicking around Bandcamp today and spend a little cash, it’s a good day for it.

So we know where Orange Goblin — as ever Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Christopher “Ships the Merch” Turner — got the Live and Loud part (it was also the title of a Nirvana VHS), and sure enough, there’s a Rough and Ready to go with in the 1971 third album from The Jeff Beck Group. Both are, of course, decidedly within Orange Goblin‘s purview, and if they were drawing from sources related to classic heavy rock and metal, well, that’s been Orange Goblin‘s modus for the last 25 years. Indeed, the 58-minute Rough & Ready, Live & Loud arrives as part of the band’s celebration of a quarter-century since their inception, though of course the story is rarely so clear as that, with the band having begun previously as Our Haunted Kingdom before changing their name. But 1995 was when that happened, so fair enough, and while their plans have no doubt been somewhat stifled — they also would’ve been at Desertfest this weekend, marking the occasion as the conquering heroes they are on stage — if we as the audience can’t see them lay waste, at least a captured and compiled set is something to enjoy.

And as consolation, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud offers plenty. As one would hope with a catalog of nine studio full-lengths, plus splits and so on, there’s plenty to draw from, and as they mightorange goblin rough and ready live and loud at any given headlining show — as they did last year in New York (review here), sadly without Turner — they build a set that spans front-to-back of their discography, going all the way back to “Saruman’s Wish” from 1997’s Frequencies from Planet Ten (discussed here), while maximizing energy and dynamic in tempo and their ever-boozy rhythmic shove. Orange Goblin have long since established their scope encompassing all things heavy and underground rock, doom and metal, and whether it’s anthems like “Sons of Salem” from their latest LP, 2018’s The Wolf Bites Back (review here), or the ultra-catchy roller “The Fog” from 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), or the Bandcamp-only bonus cut “Your World Will Hate This” from 2002’s revisit-worthy Coup de Grace, or the has-become-a-personal-mantra “Some You Win, Some You Lose” from 2004’s Thieving From the House of God (discussed here), they readily nail it as one might expect a band picking tracks and assembling them together as a live record might.

That is, one should come into Rough & Ready, Live & Loud expecting a quality product, and though there are some jumps in sound as the band move from Sylak Open Air in France, August 2016, to KOKO in London, December that same year during one of their annual holiday tours, to Fuzz Club in Athens last year, a quality product is exactly what’s delivered. Conspicuously absent are regular live cuts like “Scorpionica” and “Blue Snow,” but “Shine” from 1998’s Time Travelling Blues (discussed here) is an organ-laced highlight, and even a song like “Mythical Knives” from 2014’s Back From the Abyss (review here), which wasn’t a standout in the same way as that record’s title-track, which also appears here, or “The Filthy and the Few” from 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), proves worthy of the additional airing. Plus, those looking for “Scorpionica,” “Quincy the Pigboy,” “Blue Snow” or even “Red Tide Rising” can easily find them on 2013’s live album, A Eulogy for the Fans (review here), which is still in print so far as I know and, in any case, not hard to come by.

They cap the almost-hour-long set with the particularly Motörheady scorch of “Renegade” from The Wolf Bites Back and “Time Travelling Blues” itself, the latter’s signature introductory guitar figure led into with a simple “let’s get fucked up” before they lock into the song as they have on so many occasions, somewhere between SkynyrdSabbath and apocalypse. Orange Goblin are professionals, and they deliver their songs accordingly, but in the times I’ve been fortunate enough to see them, that’s never held them back from expressing either the passion for what they do or the genuine affection for their audience. This is a band that has a relationship with their listenership, and Rough & Ready, Live & Loud acknowledges this with the digital liner notes that includes fan pictures and others (one of my shots of Millard from the aforementioned New York show is there; thanks to them for using it), as well as through Ward‘s various banter encouragements and frenzy-whippings. All of this is part of the experience of seeing Orange Goblin on stage, and if Rough & Ready, Live & Loud helps bring that experience to mind, then it can only be called successful as a live album.

Orange Goblin may not get to bring their particular brand of chaos to Desertfest this weekend — always next year — and that’s a bummer, but if there’s a lesson to be found in Rough & Ready, Live & Loud, it’s that, as always: some you win, some you lose. And if you lose, you might as well make the most of it, which is exactly what they’re doing here. I can only imagine that after 25 years there’s an archive of Orange Goblin live recordings captured from along the way. Anytime they want to throw one of those up on Bandcamp for a couple bucks or whatever, it’s welcome. In the meantime, it’s worth hoping their label, Spinefarm, picks up this one for a physical release, not the least to see and hold a larger version of the cover art, which puts the four-piece as zombies on motorcycles surrounded by iconography from their studio albums. As a fan of the band, I think it’d make an awfully nice 2LP, and I can’t imagine I’d be the only one interested in such a thing, even after getting the download this morning.

I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I think a lot about the subject/object divide and how it relates to criticism, the idea of critique itself as a creative endeavor. I know I’ve talked about it before on some levels but there are times when I get a sense of how “the critic” is perceived by “the artist,” and I always find it fascinating. Sometimes disheartening, sometimes not — some you win, some you lose. I consider myself a creative person. My background, such as it is, is in narrative fiction and creative nonfiction. Telling stories. And I very often approach writing a review the same way. Every album has a story — at least one — and if I can find out what that story is and tell that in a way that also puts the work in whatever context it might appear, I consider the endeavor successful.

The idea of “storytelling” has become a commercial buzzword. Advertising “tells stories” now. And while I take that perversion of purpose — let’s make people feel feelings so they’ll buy more shit — as a sign of increased cultural cache for narrative, plot and characterization generally, there’s no question of the manipulation happening. But still, I try to tell stories when I write. Even if, as above, the story is something as simple as “Orange Goblin kick ass, they’ve been doing so for 25 years and they put out a live album,” that’s still a story, with context. There’s still something to say about it, and I’m doing my best to say it in a creative way.

So am I an artist?

Does it help my case if I say I’m broke? Or that I have emotional baggage? I don’t know. As I say every time I’m asked and have said plenty of times when nobody has asked, I think of The Obelisk as an ongoing creative endeavor. I’ve been doing it for over 11 years. It has become, quite simply, my life’s work to this point. It will end some day. I don’t know when or how. But when it does, will The Obelisk be art, even if that art is a comment on and building off the work of others?

Isn’t all art inherently a critique on what’s come before it?

Where’s that line, between creation and critique? Does it even matter? Is there value in the perception one way or the other? In who gets to be the artist and who doesn’t?

To me, I guess there is, or I wouldn’t spend so much time thinking about it.

I don’t have any answers, or I’d give them.

Thanks for reading. Next week, that pesky High Priestess review that got away from me this week. Also hopefully the drawdown of the days of rona series, which — like the lockdown itself — is starting to drag on a bit. Also streams from Pushy, Buss, Itus and Mercury Boys, and some actual news about stuff that isn’t a spiky ball of a virus. New albums and such are happening, and it’s a relief to have something else to talk about, so I’m going to do that.

New Gimme show today. Listen at or on their app (which is what I use these days). Thanks if you check it out. 5PM Eastern.

Have a great and safe weekend. Thanks again for reading. Forum, radio, merch.

The Obelisk Forum

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Desertfest London 2020 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Desertfest London 2020 has made its first lineup announcement, with nine acts serving as the foundation of the fray set to take place May 1-3 next year. This one happened a bit ago, concurrent I think to the Desertfest Berlin first announcement, but, well, life happens I guess. Either way, the two festivals will share an artwork theme for the first time, which feels only appropriate — one hopes Desertfest New York does the same next September, if only because I’d like to buy a poster on this theme — as well as a few acts in the likes of Masters of RealityCorrosion of ConformityBrant Bjork, and Orange Goblin.

They may end up sharing more than that, of course, between the bands that each has thus far revealed. There’s always a bit of stagger between one and the other as they add locals — The Brothers Keg and Green Lung and Black Orchids come to mind here — to distinguish themselves and each offer something of its own to attendees. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if The Picturebooks and Possessor wound up playing Berlin too, but that hasn’t been announced yet if it’s going to happen at all. You get the point.

The point is Deserfest London 2020 already looks awesome, and if you can make it, you should go. I should go too. We should all go. And hang out. It’ll be fun.

Mark your calendar:

desertfest london 2020 poster


For their first UK appearance in five years, Masters Of Reality – Official will make their Desertfest debut as 2020 headliners next May. One of the most influential bands in desert rock history, with the genres very own Godfather at the reins, Masters is the brainchild of legendary producer Chris Goss (Welcome to Sky Valley, Rated R, Blues for The Red Sun, Songs for The Deaf). Their effortless combination of hard-rock blues with an experimentally progressive tinge makes no apologies for not sticking within the stylised box listeners would assume, yet simultaneously provides the perfect lesson in the musical ethos and story-telling of the Palm Desert scene.

Joining them on the bill will be North Carolina favourites Corrosion Of Conformity whose unmistakable Southern stomp is always a welcome addition, OG’s of the Desertfest family Orange Goblin will celebrate 25 years of relentless riffs and the desert daze continues as living legend Brant Bjork is set to bask in psychedelic sunshine.

Elsewhere we see high-octane German party duo The Picturebooks, London based psychedelic doom devotees GREEN LUNG show just why they are on our ones-to-watch-list and more home-grown talent comes in the form of space sludge stalwarts The Brothers Keg, the unhinged ferocity of Possessor and a journey of groove and reflection with the other-worldly soundscapes of Black Orchids.

Weekend tickets are now on sale and with dozens more bands to still be announced we implore you to pick up a ticket sooner rather than later!

Tickets & more info here – || (*you do not need the DICE app to purchase via DICE!)

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

Corrosion of Conformity, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

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