All Access Rating: A
|Orange Goblin -Healing Through Fire 2014|
Slightly crispy and fuzzy around the edges, its bluesy, motoring riffage doused in gasoline and lit on fire, Healing Through Fire is a blazing stoner-metal arson for the great unwashed that never got a proper promotional tour Stateside – something singer Ben Ward has always regretted.
Their only Sanctuary Records release, Healing Through Fire was the band's sixth LP. Falling into obscurity, as Orange Goblin went on hiatus until 2011, it became a rare find recently for Goblin obsessives. Reissued by Candlelight Records with rampaging, greasy live renditions of the album's most infectious tracks, the muscular, writhing "The Ballad of Solomon Eagle" and the rugged, down-tuned harbinger of chugging evil "They Come Back," Healing Through Fire deserved a better fate, especially considering how dramatically it relives the suffering, grave fear and reeking death of The Great Plague and London's Great Fire of 1666.
Evocative and captivating lyrically, the words delivered with Ward's bestial vocal roar, Healing Through Fire is a furnace of an album, managing to sound wide and heavy on a hot and nasty "Hot Knives and Open Sores" and the brawny, seismic "Vagrant Stomp," while never succumbing to sluggishness. Even the punishing doom-metal pounding of "Cities of Frost," this swinging sledgehammer smashed repeatedly into a brick wall, is delivered with rage-filled intensity, and the relentless groove-mongering of "The Ale House Braves" circles with dangerous intent before charging into the breach without hesitation.
In spirit, Orange Goblin could be the hell-spawned bastard child of Motorhead, but on the smoldering "Beginner's Guide to Suicide," with its slide guitar, smoggy organ and pained harmonica, they play dirty blues with the devilish charm of Cream – rumbling, demented and psychedelic. Although Joe Hoare's guitar leads throughout Healing Through Fire are sharp and searing, just as his riffs are meaty and brutal, it's his expressive soloing on "Beginner's Guide to Suicide" that steals the show.
Until Orange Goblin's next studio full-length, which is apparently under construction, this violent revisiting of one of the band's surefire classics should mollify the pitchfork-wielding villagers waiting for more from these shaggy metal bikers. Let the Healing ... begin.
– Peter Lindblad