Ben Ward

REVIEW: Orange Goblin – Back From the Abyss (2014 GUEST REVIEW)


GOBLIN1ORANGE GOBLIN – Back From the Abyss (2014 Candlelight)

When the mighty Orange Goblin started their musical journey, they really were more of your typical “Stoner Rock” fare.  Now to be fair, the word “typical” there refers to the overall sound and style of their music.  Right from their 1997 debut album, Frequencies From Planet Ten, it became apparent that if Orange Goblin was to be labelled “Stoner Rock”, then they were rightfully placed on the top shelf with the elite bands of that genre.  With their 2012 release, A Eulogy For The Damned, Orange Goblin dabbled sparingly with other forms of heavy rock.  The title track being the best example of that, which I feel is one of the best pieces of hard rock ever released.  But still, the album as a whole really was one big heavy metal punch to the head.  Orange Goblin’s latest musical journey  is more like a series of methodical jabs, as if the 12 songs were 12 different rounds of a barbaric boxing match, each round finding a different way of attacking your senses.  The aforementioned title track from Eulogy of the Damned showed me that Orange Goblin were capable of becoming something very different than just a “Stoner Rock” band.  Back From the Abyss sees the transformation completed.  After a couple listens I truly believe that when Orange Goblin’s career is assessed in retrospect, Goblin’s latest album will go down as their quintessential release.

The title of Orange Goblin’s 8th release refers to the gruelling two-year long tour that followed the release of Eulogy of the Damned.  It was on this tour that I had the privilege to see them live in London, Ontario last year.  They were outstanding live.  It was literally a fucking metal party.  The band seemed to enjoy the festivities as much as the crowd did.  Vocalist Ben Ward towered over the crowd like Conan and had his fellow barbarians eating out of his huge palm.  It should be noted as well, that as intimidating as Ben Ward is on stage, he was completely the opposite upon meeting him after the show.  He was a true gentleman and his overall coolness was very impressive.  Taking the experience of their first full North American tour to the studio produces Back From The Abyss. I personally was praying to the Metal Gods that Orange Goblin’s next album would continue to explore more musically diverse ways of punching you in the fucking head.   This album delivers much more than that.  This could very well be Orange Goblin’s finest hour.

“SABBATH HEX” –   The album starts off as it should with reckless Goblin abandon.  According to Ben Ward the song title came from an idea he once had to put a curse on anyone who doesn’t like Black Sabbath.  This is a great chugging riffy opener.  Starting from track one you start to realize Ben Ward is becoming more than just a growler.

“UBERMENSCH” –  Get in the car with Orange Goblin.  Fasten your seatbelts as they hit the gas pedal and tear it up.  That pretty much describes this second track.  Great riff during the verses are reminiscent of early QOTSA.  Riff is king.

“THE DEVIL’S WHIP” – This song was released weeks ago, and a lot has been written already about this being a blatant Motorhead memorial.  That is exactly what it is.  I find the track reminds me of the song “Iron Fist”, but I am sure every Motorhead fan would be reminded of a different track themselves.  From the beginning “Alright!” cue, this song is indeed a Kilmister-worthy tribute that speeds along at a break-neck pace.

“DEMON’S BLUES” – One of the greatest things about this album for me are the many different vocal approaches.  While most of this song sees Ben Ward barking out the blues in his special way, “Demon’s Blues” begins with spoken word that has a very doom metal feel.  I really like the melody-first approach on this song (which is even more apparent on the chorus), and it seems to foreshadow what is to come.

“HEAVY LIES THE CROWN” – It is official now.  Orange Goblin has progressed from being a great heavy rock band to being true songwriters.  This track is fucking awesome.  I love the lyrics, the great guitar work and the anthemic vocals.  In a recent interview, Ben Ward compared the ending chanting vocals to early Manowar and I can totally hear that.  For me, the last couple minutes of this track sounds like if Thin Lizzy had written the Game of Thrones theme song.  Best piece of music so far on the album.

“INTO THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS” –   Well, I did say “so far”.  “Into the Arms of Morpheus” starts off with a very “NIB”-like isolated bass line.  As this song marches on, Goblin launches into the molten blues they do so very well.  I love the ending of this song.  This might be the best guitar work I have ever heard from guitarist Joe Hoare.  It is becoming apparent that Orange Goblin are really challenging themselves as songwriters now.  And that theme continues with the next track as well.

“MYTHICAL KNIVES” – This pirate-themed track shows Ben Ward experimenting even more with his vocal approach.  More doom-esque tones and even parts that sound more like Gregorian monk chanting than rock vocals.  “Mythical Knives” = Melodic Power.  Nuff said.

“BLOODZILLA” – Orange Goblin warns you of what you are in store for as Ben Ward screams “Go!”  And as “Bloodzilla” began, there I was, heavily cutting in tribute to the wondrous metal before me.  I found myself wishing someone was with me while I was listening to this.  This will be an instant live staple.  I love the ending riff of this song, which repeats over and over again, and brought to mind for me a kind of heavy metal version of the ending to “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes.

“THE ABYSS” – At times this track veers more towards Alice in Chains rather than the Sabbath-based approach that usually dominates their material.  Rearing its not so ugly head again is the doom metal sound I mentioned earlier.  In general, I am not a fan of the style of doom metal.  However I find that the sprinklings of doom throughout this album are simply a great compliment to the songs.  Once again another terrific Orange Goblin instant classic.

“TITAN” – The first of two instrumentals on the album, “Titan” may actually be my favorite piece of music on Back From The Abyss.  Very reminiscent of Iron Maiden, as well as shades of Thin Lizzy once again.  Even more surprising is that parts of this song actually remind me of Dream Theater or Queensryche.  Just another example of Orange Goblin having a lot more up their tattooed sleeve than we thought they did.

“BLOOD OF THEM” – With lyrics inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and even more diversity in the vocal approach, “Blood of Them” comes across as an extremely heavy track both lyrically and sonically.   Love the spoken word at the beginning of the song.  Simply another great track on this album.

“THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH” – The second instrumental on Back From The Abyss ends the album in style.  I found that this track reminds of “The Zoo” by the Scorpions, but with many more riffs and some off-beats.  Just a great guitar-based track which again proves that melody is becoming king to Orange Goblin.  In an interview, Ben Ward stated that they are thinking of using this track is their intro when playing live.  That would be a great choice.

In closing, Back From The Abyss impressively proves that Orange Goblin are not just a band writing heavy songs anymore.  Orange Goblin are songwriters that happen to play heavy rock and roll.  What category do you put Orange Goblin in now?  Who knows and who cares.  All you need to know is that this album is Top Shelf Rock.  Based on my previous experience seeing this band live, I can only imagine how good these songs will be to see live.  If you get the chance to see Orange Goblin live, you must do so.

5/5 stars

Ester Segarra

VIDEO: Sausagefest XIII – Part II

Thanks again Windows Movie Maker for not messing up this video. This is the last video I’ll be using Movie Maker to create. Thanks Seb for the new software.

Part II features the first ever live performance of “The Maiden Song” written by Seb, Dave and Meat.  Yours truly on second vocals.

Part I is below:



Sausagefest XIII: The Complete Countdown

Without further adieu, I present to you the Top 75 songs from this year’s Countdown.  Only a handful of my songs made the Countdown this year:  Sound City Players‘ “Your Wife is Calling”, Black Sabbath‘s “Damaged Soul”, “Hush” by Deep Purple, Dio‘s “Rainbow in the Dark”, and “Stonehenge” by Spinal Tap.

1 More Human Than Human White Zombie
2 Red Tide Rising Orange Goblin
3 Welcome to the Family Avenged Sevenfold
4 Awake Godsmack
5 Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) AC/DC
6 Detroit Rock City KISS
7 Fuck Her Gently Tenacious D
8 Give Up the Funk Parliament
9 Subdivisions Rush
10 A Warriors Call Volbeat
11 A Lil Piece of Heaven Avenged Sevenfold
12 Back in Black AC/DC
13 Dying Earth The Sword
14 I Black Sabbath
15 Funk 49 James Gang
16 War Pigs Black Sabbath
17 Hawks and Serpents The Sword
18 Red Hot Mama Funkadelic
19 Man in the Box Alice in Chains
20 Higher Ground Stevie Wonder
21 Children of the Damned Iron Maiden
22 Snowblind Black Sabbath
23 Red Barchetta Rush
24 Master of Puppets Metallica
25 Seek and Destroy Metallica
26 White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane
28 Hooker with a Penis Tool
29 Testify Rage Against the Machine
30 Le Grange ZZ Top
31 Chop Suey System of a Down
32 Good Times Bad Times Led Zeppelin
33 Seven Nation Army White Stripes
34 The Wind Cries Mary Jimi Hendrix
35 Aerials System of a Down
36 Save Me Avenged Sevenfold
37 The Veil of Isis The Sword
38 Chapter 4 Avenged Sevenfold
39 Wherever I May Roam Metallica
40 Are You Mine? The Arctic Monkeys
41 The Prisoner Iron Maiden
42 Them Bones Alice in Chains
43 Carry on my Wayward Son Kansas
44 Squonk Genesis
45 Losfer Words Iron Maiden
46 Damaged Soul Black Sabbath
47 Earth Rocker Clutch
48 Stonehenge Spinal Tap
49 Seasons in the Abyss Slayer
50 Under the Sun Black Sabbath
51 Tales of Brave Ulysses Cream
52 Right Place Wrong Time Doctor John
53 A Day in the Life War
54 Hush Deep Purple
55 Slow Ride Foghat
56 Emotional Rescue The Rolling Stones
57 Sign of the Gypsy Queen April Wine
58 Rainbow in the Dark Dio
59 Mongoose Fu Manchu
60 Lies Down
61 Dogs of War Motorhead
62 Money Pink Floyd
63 Wife is Calling Sound City Players
64 Awaken Yes
65 Give it to Me Baby Rick James
66 Frankenstein Edgar Winter Group
67 Where the Devil Don’t Stay Drive By Truckers
68 Machine Gun The Commodores
69 Millionaire Dr Hook
70 Warriors Thin Lizzy
71 Jukebox Hero Foreigner
72 Heart of Gold Neil Young
73 Intro to Reality/Belly of the Beast Anthrax
74 Roller Sasquatch
75 Long Way to the Top AC/DC



VIDEO: Sausagefest XIII – Part I

Thank you Windows Movie Maker for not messing up this video.  There was so much fantastic footage that I split this up into two parts.

Enjoy Part I, featuring many talented musicians and friends.



Sausagefest Hangover: LeBrain’s list and selected pics

The addition of live bands and open jams at Sausagefest has, in my opinion, revolutionized the whole weekend for the better.  The good news is this:  I recorded so much live footage and got so many great photos that I have more than enough to put together the best Sausagefest video yet.  The bad news is this:  I recorded so much live footage and got so many great photos that it is going to take me a while to edit it together.  Patience is the key.

In the meantime:  Here are some more selected photos from this excellent weekend, PLUS my entire list of songs that I voted for.  Ultimately this year we only did a Top 75 countdown compiled from all the votes.  When that is available I’ll post that too.

In the meantime:  THANK YOU to Jeff Woods (The Legends of Classic Rock), Craig Fee (107.5 Dave FM) and Ben Ward (Orange Goblin) for your contributions this year!  Above and beyond the call of duty.


1 Your Wife Is Calling Sound City Players
2 Billy Oxygen Helix
3 Wish I Could Be There Helix
4 Wishing Well Black Sabbath
5 Damaged Soul Black Sabbath
6 God of Thunder KISS
7 Pictures of Home Deep Purple
8 Vincent Price Deep Purple
9 The Storm Flying Colors
10 Kayla Flying Colors
11 Shoulda Woulda Coulda Flying Colors
12 Vincent Price Deep Purple
13 I Miss My Chick Brant Bjork
14 MidLife Crisis Faith No More
15 Millionaire QOTSA
16 In The Fade QOTSA
17 It’s Late Queen
18 Keep Yourself Alive Queen
19 Solitude Black Sabbath
20 So Tired Ozzy
21 Rainbow in the Dark Dio
22 Creatures of the Night KISS
23 War Machine KISS
24 Lights Out UFO
25 Mean Streets Van Halen
26 Take Your Whiskey Home Van Halen
27 Hear About It Later Van Halen
28 Dirty Movies Van Halen
29 Sinners Swing Van Halen
30 Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers ZZ Top
31 Hangover Max Webster
32 Blowing the Blues Away Max Webster
33 Gravity Max Webster
34 Masquerade Hibakusha
35 You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise Judas Priest
36 Delivering the Goods Judas Priest
37 Evil Fantasies Judas Priest
38 18 Alice Cooper
39 Dwight Fry Alice Cooper
40 Thunder in Rock Fist
41 Lay It On the Line Triumph
42 Hell Hole Spinal Tap
43 Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight Spinal Tap
44 Rock and Roll Creation Spinal Tap
45 Stonehenge Spinal Tap
46 Heavy Duty Spinal Tap
47 Big Bottom Spinal Tap
48 Cups and Cakes Spinal Tap
49 Gimme Some Money Spinal Tap
50 Listen To What the Flower People Say Spinal Tap
51 Bitch School Spinal Tap
52 The Majesty of Rock Spinal Tap
53 Break Like the Wind Spinal Tap
54 Stinkin’ Up the Great Outdoors Spinal Tap
55 Rock and Roll Nightmare Spinal Tap
56 Hush Deep Purple
57 Kill the King Rainbow
58 Long Live Rock and Roll Rainbow
59 Big Balls AC/DC
60 Dirty Deeds AC/DC
61 Ain’t No Fun Waiting Round to be a Millionaire AC/DC
62 There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ AC/DC
63 Squealer AC/DC
64 Ride On AC/DC
65 Fly on the Wall AC/DC
66 Danger AC/DC
67 It’s a Long Way to the Top AC/DC
68 Let There Be Rock AC/DC
69 Soul Stealer AC/DC
70 School Love Anvil
71 The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down The Band
72 I Stole Your Love KISS
73 Cold Gin KISS
74 Firehouse KISS
75 Keep The Dogs Away Thor
76 The Right To Rock Keel
77 Hunger King Kobra
78 The Oath KISS
79 C’mon and Love Me KISS
80 Black Diamond KISS
81 Mr Speed KISS
82 Shock Me KISS
83 Hotter Than Hell KISS
84 Got to Choose KISS
85 Killer KISS
86 Rock and Roll Hell KISS
87 Rock Bottom KISS
88 What the Hell Have I Alice In Chains
89 No Excuses Alice In Chains
90 When You Wish Upon A Star Gene Simmons
91 San Quentin Johnny Cash
92 I Got Stripes Johnny Cash
93 I Hung My Head Johnny Cash
94 Orange Blossom Special Johnny Cash
95 Fool For Your Loving Whitesnake
96 Crying in the Rain Whitesnake
97 Come An’ Get It Whitesnake
98 Slow An’ Easy Whitesnake
99 Slide It In Whitesnake
100 Standing in the Shadow Whitesnake