British stoner veterans Orange Goblin have managed to release a handful of very solid albums, somewhat quietly I might add, over the last two decades, so much so that I've somehow managed to miss out on 2014's Back From the Abyss after thoroughly enjoying 2012's mighty fine A Eulogy For the Damned. While I certainly need to catch up and investigate that one, their latest Candlelight release is upon us, the effectively titled The Wolf Bites Back. Not really deviating from their formula, this latest platter is a solid collection of old school Black Sabbath-isms, sprinkled with a touch of Motorhead, Southern Rock, as well as some energetic punk, which for loyal Orange Goblin fans, is as always, just what the doctor ordered.
"Sons of Salem" busts out of the gate with plenty of piss & vinegar, a venomous Ben Ward vocal slicing over raging heavy riffs and pounding drums. The title cut follows and also rocks hard, guitars hitting hard yet catchy, while "Renegade" tosses in some classic rock influences for a more mainstream sound. "Swords of Fire" is the first real doom laden dirge here, Sabbath styled riffing starts things off before a faster paced mix of sludge & punk take things to its conclusion. The band get a bit more musical on the quirky "Ghosts of the Primitive", tossing stoner, jam, funk, and Southern rock at the listener, the latter also showing up on the brief instrumental "In Bocca al Lup", a track that could have easily sat on an Allman Brothers Band or Widespread Panic album. "Suicide Division" is pure raging hardcore/punk with a slight splattering of Lemmy styled vocals, and the band go all bluesy with a touch of Clutch on "The Stranger". Personal favorite track here is the tumultuous "Burn the Ships", easily containing the best riffs on the album, a truly gargantuan doom/stoner tune that grooves and pummels at the same time, and the album ends with the haunting "Zeitgeist", a more atmospheric tune with some effective riffs and loads of lead guitar majesty, hinting at times at Mastodon but still vintage Orange Goblin.
The Wolf Strikes Back is a solid album overall, and though weakened somewhat by a few lackluster tracks, the strong songs here are quite good and make this an easy recommendation to any Orange Goblin or stoner metal fan.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Sons of Salem
2. The Wolf Bites Back
4. Swords of Fire
5. Ghosts of the Primitive
6. In Bocca al Lup
7. Suicide Division
8. The Stranger
9. Burn The Ships