ALBUM REVIEW: Orange Goblin - Science, Not Fiction

ALBUM REVIEW: Orange Goblin - Science, Not Fiction

* Science, Not Fiction will be released July 19th on Peaceville Records *

Orange Goblin are a band that have been delivering heavy, stoner-tinged metal for almost thirty years. Since their debut album Frequencies From Planet Ten, the band has become a defining band in the stoner metal genre, along with fellow legendary acts Electric Wizard and Sleep. Staying active and consistently releasing records up to the band's last record The Wolf Bites Back in 2019. Rising from the smoke, the band returns with their first new album in six years and their tenth album, Science, Not Fiction. Have these British heavy hitters delivered an album that not only was worth the wait, but is the band's best album?

The album opens with "The Fire at The Centre of The Earth is Mine". A rising, pulsing bass effect builds in the opening. It gets joined by the bass of Harry Armstrong and then the chugging guitars of Joe Hoare. Drummer Chris Turner joins in the festivities, adding building and anthemic drumming to the chugging guitar and bass melody. Ben Ward's "Oh Yeah" kicks off the song proper and instantly channels the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with a driving Judas Priest-esque riff into the verses section. The pulsing drums and bounce of the riff creates a classic heavy metal sound that Orange Goblin is known for. Adding that stoner metal trademark bass heavy tone, the song is just so heavy and straightforward. Especially heading into the bridge of the song, and the great guitar solo by Hoare. The song is just a tour-de-force of energy and drive and a strong opening track.

"(Not) Rocket Science" opens with Turner's drumming, then the rest of the band joins in with full gusto and attitude. With a punk attitude, the song does have that classic Orange Goblin sound, but it seems to have The Stooges vibe infused into the song, which works with Ward's vocals. I LOVE the bass lead at the halfway mark. Armstrong gets to really shine and showcase, with Turner and Hoare backing him up pretty good. Turner even brings on the cowbell after that, which adds the bluesy metal sound to the track and is a nice touch and great addition. "Ascend The Negative" opens with a nice, bluesy, groovy riff that reminds me of Clutch in it's sound and playing. I can picture the fans fist-pumping along with Turner's snare hits, especially as it heads into the chorus. Hoare delivers a nice guitar lead heading into the second verse, right before the groove of the track on the verses kicks in. Ward has such bravado and machismo in his vocal delivery, I imagine the force and presence he would have when they will perform this song live. We even get a nice breakdown section on the bridge after the halfway mark, with the bass and drums thumping and driving at the same time as we get a Black Sabbath Masters of Reality feel to the music before Ward's vocals come back in. This was my favorite track on the album. "False Hope Diet" opens with eerie and ominous guitars that instantly has a 1970's vibe to the tone and playing, especially into the guitar lead section before the vocals join. Even has a southern rock aesthetic to it, but with that dark and unknown feeling in the vocal effects and atmosphere in the production. Then, an 80's sounding chugging, palm-muted riff and little fretboard flurries show up. With driving and gurgling bass underneath, the song plays around with the timeframe and history of metal and incorporates it all so well in the track. I do like Ward's softer vocal delivery near the three quarters mark of the song. Showing that he can deliver the somber and gentler vocals without belting to the rafters. The organ, mixed with the guitar solo, is also a beautiful combination and a great one-two punch for the closing half of the track.

"Cemetery Rats" opens with horror-like piano and cinematic-like choir building beneath it, as it rises with the pitch of the piano. A distorted bass follows that with a church bell and a dirge-like pacing of guitar and drums. Really creating that stoner-metal vibe you would get with Electric Wizard. With a very spacious, reverb heavy production, the song just channels that atmospheric and "out there" style and is done very well. Then, the gears shift and the pace picks up to a driving heavy metal drum pattern. The riff is instantly ear-worm catchy and head bob inducing as Ward delivers a more faster pace delivery with some almost guttural, commanding presence with his vocals. The chorus almost has a thrash metal feel to it, which I wasn't expecting on the song compared to its doom metal opening, but it works so well and I am all-in for it. Armstrong gets another nice bass solo before the bridge, then Hoare gets a turn to deliver a heavy solo before the song's conclusion.

"The Fury of The Patient Man" has a nice bass/guitar combo melody/countermelody as Turner's drum fill starts the song. The song continues the up-tempo, punk-like feel of the drumming and guitar, with elements of the band's trademark heavy/stoner metal sound throughout the entire section with Hoare shining on the track with all the guitar leads throughout the song. On "Gemini (Twins of Evil)", the guitars start very low in the mix, with a lo-fi production style with the bass and drums almost overshadowing the guitar as the song slowly builds. I dug this track a lot, continuing that groove the band has delivered so well on this album. Ward delivers a strong vocal performance and with the riff and drums a little further back in the mix, this is the song for Ward to really standout, which he nails on the song. Around the halfway mark, the band begins to take over with a catchy guitar riff and pounding kick from Turner on the drums. "The Justice Knife" has an aggressive start with the guitars and snare hits just punching through the mix as the song starts. Ward's gritty, bellowing vocals work so well with the darker, more straightforward riff. The album closes with "End of Transmission". With a very spacey, opening guitar piece and pulsing drums, the song builds in atmosphere in the music and production. Ward comes in hot in the vocals, belting his heart out with grit and power. The guitar layering and reverb create such a trippy effect. With chugging guitar and bass, higher intricate lead guitars and spacious atmosphere and effects, it almost elevates the listener before the main riff and vocals drag you back down with force. The chorus is so catchy and the vocal effects on Ward with that megaphone-style effect, adds such depth in his delivery. The progressive pace change at the three-and-a-half minute mark really creates dynamics and mixes up the formula, before the band goes for the throat in the closing moments.

Science, Not Fiction is, in my opinion, Orange Goblin's best record. This album was just impressive the whole way through. Not even one skippable song or dull moment. A powerful record that showcased that ten albums in, Orange Goblin just gets better with age like a fine wine. The entire band is just on fire throughout the whole record, with each band member shining at certain points and the band knowing when to rock the house and when to hang back and let another member shine. A truly great record and I can picture this making it on a lot of Best of 2024 lists.

SCORE: 10 / 10

1) The Fire at The Centre of The Earth is Mine

2) (Not) Rocket Science

3) Ascend The Negative

4) False Hope Diet

5) Cemetery Rats

6) The Fury of The Patient Man

7) Gemini (Twins of Evil)

8) The Justice Knife

9) End of Transmission

FFO: Electric Wizard, Kyuss, Red Fang,

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