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Orange Goblin: lock, stock, the fucking lot

Orange Goblin are back after facing the most difficult year of their career and staking their claim in British Metal history

A funny thing happened to Orange Goblin on their way to oblivion. In 2012, after 18 years together, they released a last-gasp album, the ironically titled A Eulogy For The Damned. The band had spent nearly two decades in the trenches, plying their wooly, wide-legged stoner-doom jams far and wide, always returning to London after a few weeks or months to labour at day jobs and dream big rock’n’roll dreams that never quite came true. They were middle-aged, bedraggled, at the end of their collective ropes.

And then the album came out, and all hell broke loose. It ranked third in Hammer’s end-of-year poll, and the metal world at large was just as enthusiastic. It breathed new life into the creaky ol’ Goblin machine, propelling them to dash their civilian lives completely and hit the road with renewed vigour. The tours got longer, and the crowds got bigger. They headlined Bloodstock’s second stage and packed the place out. And the madness never ended. Two years later, and they’re about to unloose the crucial follow-up, a toothsome beast called Back From The Abyss. And as Goblin mainman Ben Ward tells Hammer, that abyss is exactly what you think it is.

“Oh yeah, it’s about the last couple of years,” he says. “It’s about being on the road for so long, which can be very trying at times. But also, we saw going professional with the band as going into the unknown. So the album was a reference to that, getting back from the abyss. The album is kind of like a statement to say we’re still here, and that we’re ready to rock again.”

‘Going professional’ is the dream of self-respecting metal bands, and one that seemed far-fetched for Goblin just a few years ago. So when the chance arose, the band was forced to weigh their options carefully.

“It was a very tough decision because we’re no spring chickens,” Ben laughs. “We’re all in our 40s, we’ve all got mortgages and children to support and wives to look after, as well. So, we had to weigh all the pros and cons. But we have very supportive wives and girlfriends who agreed to hold down the fort while we went away for months on end. They kind of pushed us into it, to a certain extent. It was a massive decision for everyone involved, really, but looking back, it’s been alright so far.”

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