Orange Goblin

Thieving from the House of God

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Many wondered how Orange Goblin would cope as a four-piece following the departure of second guitar player Pete O'Malley, but, by making it sound like nothing has changed, the band's fifth album, 2004's Thieving from the House of God, answers that question with a perfunctory "just fine, thank you." Of course, as will be discussed shortly, this same "staying of the course" could also pose a problem. But first things first: except for retreating just a tad from the overt punk-metal of its predecessor, Coup de Grace, Thieving from the House of God retains the same, appropriately thick and meaty post-stoner rock crunch -- neither here nor there in terms of outright hard rock or heavy metal -- that Orange Goblin fans have come to expect. "Some You Win, Some You Lose" gets the ball rolling in promising fashion and the novelty of counterpoint vocals in the chorus; and ensuing hard rockers like "Hard Luck" and "Black Egg" each manage a few surprises between them -- be it in the former's clever lyrics, or the latter's striking use of piercing, soulful female vocals. But prospects quickly grow dim with the forgettable "One Room, One Axe, One Outcome" (which has only its name to call interesting), and any hopes that Orange Goblin will magically conjure a truly great single or minor metal classic are duly squashed as one moves through the album. The mounting riff-fest of "Round Up the Horses" momentarily harkens back to the giant, Sabbath-sized power chords of the band's early LPs, but all it signals in the end is a strong, not thrilling, finale driven by the friendly countenance of ZZ Top's "Just Got Paid," and the mildly interesting, nine-minute, sub-space sprawl of "Crown of Locusts." More than anything, Thieving from the House of God leaves very contradictory feelings in its wake. On the one hand, there's a positive notion of "mission accomplished" for the band's transition into existence as a quartet; but on the other, there's a negative and worrisome sense of "what now?" realization suggesting that, despite their best efforts, Orange Goblin may well be doomed to always remain a very good hard rock/heavy metal band which may never amount to a truly great hard rock/heavy metal band.

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