ORANGE GOBLIN (s/t) 5CD Box Set
2011 starts of well for all fans of ORANGE GOBLIN, because the first five albums have been re-released and re-mastered by Rise Above Records at the beginning of the new year. In the event that you don't want to buy each album, it is better to check out this limited box set because it includes exactly the same digipacks. Personally, I very much like the debut album 'Frequencies from Planet Ten' and I still remember when I bought it back in 1997. There were people who have strongly criticized the band for their musical change of direction, but for me it was a very welcome debut and I liked their break from the past when they started under the name Our Haunted Kingdom.
After all the years I still find that 'Frequencies from Planet Ten' is their best album, because it has lost nothing of its power and vitality. The spirit of early Black Sabbath is omnipresent, although there is a strong tendency to psychedelic rock. All their influences were embedded in carefully elaborated arrangements and already at this time the band was a well-oiled machine and their songwriting skills are leaving nothing to desire. To sum it up, 'Frequencies from Planet Ten' is a timeless piece of work which belongs into every well stocked doom/heavy rock collection. As a bonus, there are demo recordings of 'Saruman's Wish' and 'Aquatic Fanatic' and a cover version of Trouble's 'Black Shape of Doom'. One year later, 'Time Travelling Blues' was released and it is a continuation of the debut. There is still plenty of groove and the psychedelic elements can still be found, but you also notice that ORANGE GOBLIN reveal their love for heavy metal and southern rock.
It is also of note that Ben Ward's vocals became rougher which I was very uneasy about. Here again, the album has been expanded with three bonus cuts, namely 'Nuclear Guru (alternative version from the Man's Ruin EP), 'Blue Snow' (BBC Session) as well as 'Hand of Doom' (Black Sabbath cover from the previously mentioned Man's Ruin EP). The next album was 'The Big Black' that never grabbed me, even after 11 years. It is by all means a very solid full-length, but I still think that the band was running out of ideas. It lacks defining songs and moreover the unbridled energy of 'Time Travelling Blues' has disappeared. Nonetheless I have to say that the title track is a monster. Never before have ORANGE GOBLIN recorded such a massive wall of riffs, and it's definitely their heaviest tune. Additionally, you'll find again three bonus tracks. In this case we have an alternate version of 'Quincy the Pigboy' as well as 'Scorpionica' that was recorded live at the BBC. The last bonus track is a cover of Black Sabbath's 'Into the Void', which only appeared on the Japanese CD edition.
Things changed in 2002, when the fourth album 'Coup De Grace' was released. Of course, it always unmistakeably sounds like ORANGE GOBLIN, but the songs are more focused and the production is much rougher. In addition, 'Coup De Grace' takes up influences from punk, blues and southern rock which led to an unexpectedly energetic and powerful album. This happens to be my second-favourite ORANGE GOBLIN record and it was a good decision on the part of the band to go into a more aggressive direction. The bonus material includes a cover version of Leaf Hound's 'Freelance Fiend' and of Motörhead's 'No Class'. Additionally you get 'No Law' that was previously released on the 'High Time' compilation. The last and fifth album in this box set is 'Thieving From the House of God' that sounds like a cross between 'Coup De Grace' and 'Time Travelling Blues'. However, the psychedelic elements were replaced with more metal, rock 'n' roll and blues, whereas the songs are still dominated by endless grooves.
Songs like 'Tosh Lines' illustrate once again that Motörhead play an increasingly important role while the solid cover version of ZZ Top's 'Just Got Paid' blends in well with the rest of the album. ORANGE GOBLIN's fifth album is far from being innovative or groundbreaking for the heavy music scene, but it's a nice and raw soundtrack for the next drinking session. Furthermore the band has managed to capture a bit of their live energy and the closing track 'Crown of Locusts' is nearly as marvellously monstrous as the title track from 'The Big Black'. The remaining three bonus cuts underline the band's preference for punk rock. You will hear a brutally fuzzed-out version of The Damned's 'New Rose' and 'White Night Cyanide' (7" b-side) as well as the furious rocker 'Bad Blues' which was previously unreleased. This massive box set also includes an embroidered patch and extensive liner notes written by Ben Ward, but is all that, however, sufficient reason to buy this item? If you are a hardcore fan and collector of ORANGE GOBLIN I would say yes. Otherwise it makes a lot more sense to buy the seperate CD's.