Orange Goblin

The Big Black

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Because the band had been immediately signed to highly regarded Rise Above Records (perhaps the ultimate stoner rock/doom metal label) and had sounded so mature and "together" straight out of the box, Orange Goblin was put under more scrutiny than most young groups. And after weathering a noticeable sophomore slump with 1998's often lackluster Time Travelling Blues, the quintet members probably knew they needed to come up with a strong showing the third time around in order to prove their worth. Early believers already knew that here was a supremely competent set of musicians, who managed to borrow most of the basic elements laid down by their stoner metal forefathers (Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Acrimony) without actually sounding too much like any of them. But their still developing songwriting skills hadn't really allowed them to stand out from that of other solid second-generation stoners, as of yet. Thankfully, their third opus, The Big Black, took a quantum leap in that direction by boasting Orange Goblin's most consistent and memorable batch of tunes thus far. The explosive power of opener "Scorpionica" immediately hints at this development, and further highlights like "Quincy the Pigboy" and the ultra-spacy "Cozmo Bozo" quickly confirm the listener's hopes. The propulsive, mad dervish of "Turbo Effalunt (Elephant)" (no doubt a stoned mispronunciation done good) provides as straightforward a head-banging delight as the band has ever committed to wax, and lengthy space rock jams like the title track also tend to avoid the excessive mucking about of previous years. Also conspicuously absent are the generally disposable organ accompaniments, which had cluttered the band's first two outings. This timely release also arrived as the Goblin's biggest UK competitors for stoner rock supremacy (Electric Wizard, Cathedral) were temporarily out of commission, helping the band attract many new fans as well as significantly more media attention.

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