Album review: ORANGE GOBLIN – Healing Through Fire (2CDs w/bonus tracks)

Cherry Red Records [Release date 20.08.21]

This expanded Orange Goblin compilation centres on their 2007 Disaster Album, Healing Through Fire. Only a Heavy Metal band could take The Great Fire Of London and the Great Plague as the theme for its musical whimsy.

It was the band’s sixth album, and it saw them move away from the Stoner Rock and Doom Metal of earlier offerings, to a heavy rock/metal sound that suggested they had not yet landed at their final destination.

‘Cities Of Frost’ and ‘Ale House Braves’ confirmed our suspicions that one foot was still firmly stuck in the Stoner camp, but opener, ‘The Ballad Of Solomon Eagle’ and ‘Beginners Guide To Suicide’ are testament to the power of taut, tense writing and growling, grinding heavy metal.

Disc One includes seven bonus tracks. Four were taken from a Radio One Rock Show in 2007. Two, naturally, were from Healing… Of the others, the powerful, hard hitting ‘Scorpionica’ came from the breakthrough album ‘The Big Black’, and pumped up stoner classic, ‘Blue Snow’ from the band’s second release, Time Traveller Blues.

The bonuses are rounded out by three demos. Of those, ‘They Come Back (Harvest Of Skulls)’ and ‘…Solomon Eagle’ are worthy additions. Both are way heavier and harder than the finished album versions.

A year before, the band played London’s The Mean Fiddler to a raucous, sellout crowd. The full 11 track live set, previously only available on DVD, occupies Disc Two.

Healing Through Fire was not yet released, so only a couple of tracks got an airing. It didn’t matter, nearly every song took the roof off. Makes you wonder why the sheer visceral thrill of a band’s live performance cannot be captured by a good producer and some decent audio equipment in the studio.

‘Quincy The Pig Boy’ and ‘Hot Magic, Red Planet’ have genuine emotional weight, skillfully handled by a band who can swagger and rage on stage with the best of them. ‘Scorpionica’ again proves to be the perfect set closer.  ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan





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