We Say :- Sometimes life just isn’t fair. We’ve all got our own stories of ups and downs, high points and tragedies: the music business is no different. For every round of applause and deserved recognition- hello Metallica, Slipknot– there’s equally a number of inexplicable cases- insert your own particular hate figure right here. There cannot, however, be many heavy metal fans who still aren’t perplexed as to why Orange Goblin aren’t one of the biggest bands on the planet: stunning live shows, every box ticked in the book of “How to do proper Heavy Metal” and a warm, irreverent sense of humour. So why aren’t they massive? It’s all a bit strange, to be honest.
This new compilation box set, spanning the band’s entire career, gives us a welcome and timely opportunity not just re-examine that strange conundrum but, through its 67 booze laden tracks, indulge in discovering and rediscovering an exemplary British band. This sumptuous set includes the band’s album releases Frequencies from Planet Ten ,Time Travelling Blues, The Big Black ,Coup De Grace and, of course, the outstanding Thieving From The House of God. Throw in a few cover versions, alternate versions and b-sides (remember those kids?) and what you have is a veritable treasure trove of musical delights.
Listening to all of these tracks in order gives one a real sense of the band’s artistic development too- from pyschedelia to doom rock; from tentative, science fiction influenced song writing to confident, punchy and dynamic hard rock, you can hear, with much more clarity, their influences and how they’ve influenced: the Black Sabbath-esque grooves are usually the most name-checked but there’s also White Zombie, Kyuss, Neurosis and Motorhead seeping through the band’s veins.
It’s a genuine pleasure to get the opportunity to get stuck back into “Frequencies from Planet Ten” which, as stoner and doom rock officionados will know from hours of trawling record shops and the internet, has been out of print for some time. It’s great to see it here and to recognise its place in the development of the band who were moving from young whippersnappers with only (if we’re honest) one or two clues, into a passionate, central and influential force on the UK metal scene.
Likewise, my own favourite Orange Goblin album, The Big Black, finds itself in receipt of a really nice remastering with a couple of quality additional tracks- there’s an alternate version of “Quincy the Pigboy” and a BBC live version of “Scorpionica”. Neither are really essential but both, like all the other nuggets of stoner doom on this compilation are meritworthy and well worth having if you’re a fan (and you probably are if you’re reading this). Elsewhere, there’s a cover version of The Damned’s New Rose that is fuzzier than a Jagermeister hangover and a boozy, bluesy Tosh Lines that’s greasier than a double breakfast at an East End cafe. Look, let’s get this right, any band that calls a song Tosh Lines after the late, great Kevin Lloyd’s character from UK cop drama The Bill is alright by me and should be alright by you.
There will be loads of churlish voices and internet trolls who will complain that they already have all this stuff and more and there’s other stuff that you should be listening to rather than digging into the past like some chin stroking musicologist. One word: cobblers. This is a brilliant box set; this is a brilliant band. For the price of a curry and a few lagers, you really can’t do much better. Magic.