Orange Goblin are a strange beast. Firstly, are they anyone’s favorite band? I would genuinely like to hear from you if they are. I read an interview recently with the super likable front man/vocalist Ben Ward, where he said that the music business is strange and cruel, and that there can be hugely talented bands that go unnoticed, while others that do well, and you wonder how they managed it, or words to that affect. I have got to be honest, and it’s ironic, but I really wonder how Orange Goblin have remained at a relatively prominent level of success for over two decades. As for me, they fall in the latter category.
I know it’s harsh of me, but anything I have heard has been hugely underwhelming. I’m not sure what doesn’t click for me because on paper, it all looks so good. The influences, the artwork, the bands look…all the ingredients are there. I think it might just be that they just don’t write very good songs. Because, when a good vocal hook is delivered, or a monstrous riff does rear it’s head, it’s then just washed away by mediocrity. A song like ‘Suicide Division’ is just so throwaway and bland that it should have gotten nowhere near the final track list. Then you have ‘The Stranger’ that starts so well, then just picks up and ruins everything as it meanders off into a pointless mid-section before returning to the same vibe as the first third, by which point you’re just over it.
The record kicks off with ‘Sons of Salem’ and is a real highlight and is at a pace the suits the band. ‘Burn the Ships’ is also pretty good, in a third-rate Corrosion of Conformity sort of way, but nothing to write home about. Now, parts of the final song, ‘Zeitgeist,’ are awesome. Interesting vocal patterns that don’t do the same thing over and over and some lead guitar playing that is soulful and full of feeling. It is just too little too late. It’s hard to remember a record I have chosen to listen to that has done so little for me. I just don’t get it. Sorry!