Orange Goblin – ‘The Wolf Bites Back’ (Album Review)
When it comes to authentic, sweat-soaked rock, Orange Goblin have it nailed down. The Wolf Bites Back – Orange Goblin album number nine, no less – keeps their consistent streak of solid tracks almost unbroken.
It also sees them give fewer fucks than ever before.
Starting the whole thing with a thunderous drum intro, fast-paced 12/8 riff, and cry of “rise up, sons of Salem – your mothers cursed you at birth,” Orange Goblin clearly aren’t fucking around. No long-winded intro, no atmospheric weather samples – just balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll. Although Orange Goblin have taken a more serious tack for years now, old titles like Songs Of The Purple Mushroom Fish would never fit among this list of brain-wringing tracks.
The Wolf Bites Back is a rock trainspotter’s wet dream. From the title track’s pensive acoustic intro (which drops off promptly into a signature stoner-rock steamroller) to Renegade’s guitar-neck-strangling blues rock, Swords Of Fire’s Sabbath-hailing bass groove and filthy doom jamming, and even a dalliance with 3/4 time as Ghosts Of The Primitives fades out, Orange Goblin remain on top of all of it. Then Joe Satriani gets a quick nod during the instrumental In Bocca Al Lupo; Suicide Division sprints through a hardcore rampage; The Stranger boasts faint shades of Soundgarden; and Burn The Ships returns to familiar stoner rock regions. That all leaves Zeitgeist, which sounds like a bonus track due to surprisingly below-par production work and a general work-in-progress vibe.
Existing OG fans will love The Wolf Bites Back – and bar Zeitgeist, its only real downside is Orange Goblin’s reliance on extremely time-tested styles. Still, these guys have proven more than happy to stretch their boundaries. Perhaps next time they’ll unleash the full-blown über-proggy monstrosity they so clearly have barely hidden within them.
LTK RATING: 83%
Pre-order The Wolf Bites Back (out June 15) on iTunes.
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