Orange Goblin / Metal Institution Threaten Career Best With Latest Album

Has it really been nearly seven years since the gnarly roars of Ben Ward last graced our lugholes? Hell, time really does wait for no man. And then you realise that it has been three years since Harry Armstrong took over bass duties from Orange Goblin stalwart Martyn Millward.

Orange Goblin – Science, Not Fiction (Peaceville Records)

Release Date: 19 July 2024

Words: Paul Hutchings

Not that Orange Goblin has been inactive since The Wolf Bites Back. These guys have pushed the envelope in recent times, heading to Japan and Australia only a few months ago. But more importantly, they have managed to channel their creativity into their tenth album, Science, Not Fiction.

Although they have certainly changed their sound since those early releases Frequencies From Planet Ten, Time Travelling Blues and The Big Black, there is a certain familiarity that comes with an Orange Goblin release.

Orange Goblin - Science, Not Fiction - subtle differences that are noted with multiple plays. Photo: Tina Korhonen, astrophotography courtesy of Giancarlo Erra.
Orange Goblin – Science, Not Fiction – subtle differences that are noted with multiple plays. Photo: Tina Korhonen, astrophotography courtesy of Giancarlo Erra.

And reassuringly, Science, Not Fiction doesn’t deviate too far from the last couple of albums, The Wolf Bites Back and Back From The Abyss. But there are subtle differences that are noted with multiple plays. 

The songs are crafted with a different type of steel. There is more expansion, and with this, a confidence that stays on the right side of arrogance but ensures that these seasoned musicians deliver with a quality that one expects but is always cautious about demanding. 

Any worries are soon put to bed with the raucous opener, The Fire At The Centre Of The Earth Is Mine. It’s deliciously Heavy Metal, with Armstrong’s thunderous bass lines driving things forward. He’s playing that bass almost as a rhythm guitar, dare I say it, a bit like the master of such playing, one Lemmy Kilmister.

Ben Ward is on top form with that roaring rasp countered by a more measured and controlled vocal style. Throw in Chris Turner’s colossal drumming and the phenomenal guitar work of Joe Hoare, and you have the headiest of mixes bursting through your ears. 

You don’t want refined polish with OFGB, and the first single (Not) Rocket Science brings that rough-edged delivery which warms the heart and bangs the head. It’s a real toe-tapper that is underpinned by a groove more reliable than Scotland going home after their first three games in a major tournament.

And although the polish isn’t overpowering, the production is superb, with each instrument allowed to breathe and work independently – take a bow Mike Exeter and Peter Hewitt-Dutton, who mastered the album. 

Focusing on Science, Spirituality and religion and how they determine and affect the human condition, this is OFGB in creative positivity. The lyrics are clever, take time to soak in, and prove once and for all that whilst this band remains a beer-in-hand kind of outfit, there’s much more to them than just three-minute songs about dragons and tits. In fact, only one song on the album is under four-minutes in length.

Ascend The Negative and the melodious tones of False Hope Diet both bring a different vibe to the band’s music, whilst the lyrical content remains real and on point. 

The second single, Cemetery Of Rats, is drenched in eerie, Hammer Horror-style atmosphere before the bell tolls and Armstrong’s reverberating fuzzed-up bass distorts whilst Hoare and Turner slowly join in to continue the feel of impending doom.

It turns into the fastest track on the album, a semi-thrashing monster that is classic Goblin in every shape and form, although at times, it’s an intoxicating mix of Motörhead and Testament in one fireball of a song. Heavy Metal at its finest. This is simply blistering stuff. 

Like all good albums, Science, Not Fiction provides more to discover on every play. Ward’s vocal performance is as good as I have ever heard him, whilst the combined interlocking of the three instruments is in synch from start to finish.

And whilst I said that this album was reassuringly OFGB, there are many moments that throw you off guard because of the subtle twists and turns.

The Justice Knife is one such track. Powerfully driven forward, it’s a runaway horse that cannot be stopped. And just when you think you have heard everything, the bonus track rocks in.

Eye Of The Minotaur sees Ward taking the narrative in a spoken word, which portrays him as a caricatured ringmaster before the thick riffs blow your head backwards one last time. 

They have made some stellar albums in their time, but it’s possible that 27 years since that first album arrived, Orange Fucking Goblin Baby may have just released the album of their career.

Orange Goblin – Science, Not Fiction – is out on 19 July 2024 via Peaceville Records and is available to pre-order from here.

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Comments

  1. Fantastic review of a truly wonderful album Paul. Even with the (truthful) dig at Scotland. My question to you is this – how did Wales get on at the Euros? 😂😂🤟🤟 Keep up the great work Paul – YOU ROCK 🤟🤟

  2. Fair point Rob. I’ll just reflect on 2016 and a semi final. But thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated

  3. As far as comebacks go, that’s a belter Paul 👍😂 We’re a 3 game country at tournaments but we’ll ALWAYS have a party 🍺🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 As far as kind words goes, your reviews are always a great read mate 🤟🤟

  4. I’d much rather be a celt going home early after a good party with no trouble (and huge kudos to the Scottish support – very reminiscent of the feedback we had in 2016) than be so upset that you’ve won your group that you feel the need to throw cups at your manager. Thanks again for the feedback. Makes it all worthwhile. Cheers 🤘🤘

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