Paul Hutchings gives the re-issue of Healing Through Fire the once over… yes it’s Orange Fuckin Goblin!!…..
Few bands kick so hard, so consistently as the UK legends that are Orange Goblin. Formed in 1995 under the name Our Haunted Kingdom, their first release was a seven-inch split with Electric Wizard. Their sound changed from the stoner blues style of their first three albums on 2002’s Coup De Grace and by the time they arrived at album number six, Healing Through Fire in 2007, the band had incorporated those original sounds into a much more aggressive and heavy sound. That’s not to say that those roots were ignored, as one can hear on tracks like The Ballad of Solomon Blues which opens the album or the sprawling almost psychedelic workout on Beginner’s Guide to Suicide which closes the album. The latter showing just what a brilliant guitarist Joe Hoare is.
Sandwiched between are some mighty slabs of heavy metal. There’s the biker size ten stomp of The Ale House Braves, the riff-laden Hot Knives and Open Sores and the bone crushing They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) which remains in their setlist today.
This release contains the original album and a plethora of goodies that many fans will not have encountered before. The four tracks from the Radio 1 Rock Show session are as boisterous as you’d expect, with the inclusion of a monstrous Scorpionica from The Big Black and Blue Snow from 1998’s Time Travelling Blues. The three demos aren’t particularly of interest to me, but they show the huge sound the band achieve in the studio. And there’s a cover of The Damned’s New Rose which is given the Goblin once over as well.
The second CD contains Goblin in full live flow. Recorded at the Mean Fiddler in 2006, this is the audio recording of the DVD that accompanied the limited edition of Healing Through Fire when it was first released. The sound quality is dreadful, a muffled production suggesting the mixing desk was in the toilets, but it does capture the essence of the band in the environment they excel. If you’ve seen OFGB live, there are few surprises. Ben Ward is full on, cajouling and encouraging the audience to engage in “chaos, motherfuckers”. The band are heavier than the proverbial bag of anvils, and it sounds like a raging show. The track listing reflects the band at the time, with plenty of older songs spread through the 11-track set list. A selection of band commentaries has been spliced onto a couple of the songs, which I imagine is from the original DVD. (It doesn’t work particularly well on the audio version, disrupting the live flow of the gig.)
Overall, the rarities on disc one are probably of more interest, although live versions of Hot Magic, Red Planet and Round Up the Horses are well worth a listen. Ultimately, if you love Orange Goblin, you’ll be ordering this double CD. If you don’t, and I know one friend who famously said he’d rather “suck the sweat from a dead man’s balls” than watch OFGB, then Healing Through Fire probably won’t be on the shopping list.
Orange Goblin re-release Healing Through Fire via Cherry Red Records this Friday the 20th August