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Orange Goblin

Healing Through Fire

Review by Gary Hill

I had heard of this band before, but never really heard them. I have to say that I've been missing out. Their brand of metal that seems to channel the stoner concepts with the more extreme ones and even some hints of punk rock is very interesting. The main album here was apparently released in 2007 and quickly vanished as the record label went out of business. So, it's a great thing that we get this deluxe release of it here. In addition to that album we get some live recordings and demos on the first disc. There is also a second disc of a live show. I'm not as enthused about that as I am the rest of the stuff. The recording leaves something to be desired and there are backstage and interview clips interspersed, interrupting the concert flow. Still, it's a bonus, and this package complete with digipack and booklet more than makes up for it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1: Healing Through Fire (2007)
                
The Ballad of Solomon Eagle
Sound effects, including a storm, start the album. A killer metal riffing rises up from there. As it continues the vocals join, and this thing really drives with energy and fire. The instrumental movement combines powerhouse melodic riffing with a driving, almost proggy arrangement that still maintains its pure metal persona.
Vagrant Stomp
I love the cool NWOBHM meets southern rock edge to this piece. It's raw and hard-edged. This is such a classic old-school metal sounding song. I'm reminded a bit of things like WASP, but also newer things like Black Label Society. This is catchy, but also fierce and meaty.
The Ale House Braves
Vocals bring this track into being. It's another powerhouse riff driven tune. It makes me think of a rawer Clutch in a lot of ways.  This is really furious and fierce as it continues.
Cities of Frost
The opening has a droning to it, but is a bit low in the mix. Then it fires upward from there with more meat added to that droning. This is a more extreme metal tune, but it's also very strong. It brings a good bit of variety and really rocks.
Hot Knives and Open Sores
I love the driving riffing on this stomper. It's heavy, energized and so cool.
Hounds Ditch
I dig the tentative and promising riff that leads this cut out. They build on that basis to create a fierce stomper that has a lot of Black Sabbath in its riffing. This turns bashing and brutal later with more extreme metal vocals.
Mortlake (Dead Water)
Intricate acoustic guitar work stands in stark contrast to the crushing brutality of the last song. This gets some electric guitar in the mix at times as augmentation, but it remains a mellower and perhaps delicate instrumental interlude.
They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
Perhaps this feels as heavy as it does thanks to the contrast of the respite that preceded it. Whatever the reason, though, this is a screaming hot and particularly heavy metal tune. It shifts to a faster, beefed up Sabbath-on-steroids section later.
Beginners Guide to Suicide
There is a lot of blues and almost Allman Brothers like jam band sound built into this. It's trippy and psychedelic, but also heavy in some ways. There are hints of Jimi Hendrix in some of the guitar work. This even has an organ adding some flavoring. It really shows the diversity of this outfit. It does turn heavier for a while, but with a real blues rock edge, and there is even some harmonica. The killer jam that takes over from there definitely calls to mind early Sabbath in a lot of ways, the blues jam band side of that sound. The guitar soloing on the later parts of this extended instrumental section are absolutely incendiary and so tasty. We get an extended harmonica solo, too. Then it resolves to a much heavier and standard metal approach from there.
Bonus Tracks: Radio One Rock Show: 17th August 2007
                           
The Ballad of Solomon Eagle

This live version loses nothing from the studio take. If anything, it might be even fiercer.

They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
Another potent live recording of a track from the studio portion of the CD, I think this might also stand taller here than it does on the main part of the disc.
Scorpionica
I love the mix of metal and hard rock on this smoking hot tune. It's another that shows the range of the band. It does so without losing any intensity at all.
Blue Snow
Drums start this track. The cut doesn't represent any kind of paradigm shift, but it's another strong one. I particularly like the guitar soloing and the bass work that accompanies it.
2006 Demos
                      
The Ballad of Solomon Eagle

While this version might not be quite as heavy as the final one, it's not lacking in any of the magic of the tune. In fact, I might prefer this one. It definitely does not sound like a demo.

They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
This is raw and fierce, but again not really what I think of when I hear the term "demo." It is not far removed from the studio version on the main album, really.
New Rose
Now, this does feel more like a demo. It's a punk rock styled tune that makes me think of what you might get if Guns N' Roses and The Dead Boys became one band.
Disc 2: Live at the Mean Fiddler, London, 16th December, 2006
              
Intro
While there are some instruments rising up on this, it is really just a short spoken introduction.
Some You Win, Some You Lose
A raw sound permeates this. The cut feels like its part metal, part hard-edged rock and part punk. It's a solid tune and a good opener.
Quincy the Pig Boy
Fiercer and more pure metal, this is driving and really heavy. It feels like the kind of music that would fit in one of Rob Zombie's horror films. There is a bit of an interview at the end of this track, that kind of takes you out of the live vibe.
Getting High on the Bad Times
Here we get another raw slab of the band's style of heavy metal. This is noisy and the recording is a bit muddy. It earns a parental advisory. We get more interview stuff on this.
The Ballad of Solomon Eagle
This live song works pretty well until it again drops away for more conversation.
Hot Magic, Red Planet
Another raw screamer, this works pretty well here. I love the dropped back section on the tune. It just oozes style and cool.
Round Up the Horses
More fierce pounding metal that leans toward punk is on the menu here. There are some pretty amazing twists and turns. We get some more interview stuff at the end of this.
They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
Furious, raw and mean, this really screams in live recording.
Your World Will Hate This
We get another stomping raw metal stomper. There is more behind the scenes banter at the end.
Blue Snow
This seems to work better in this live performance than some of the other do. It has some killer guitar soloing and the ultra-heavy sound just really shines here. There is more interview stuff at the end of this track.
Scorpionica
I really like this live performance a lot, too. It's a fierce metal sounding tune that has some nice balance between more rocking and mellower sections.
 
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