by Nathan Carson

Orange Goblin

Sun May 16

Berbati's

1 SW 3rd

"I'm the drunkest man there ever was," stated Orange Goblin vocalist Ben Ward on the secret track of their 2000 doom-opus The Big Black. Anyone who's seen Ward's Viking stature will immediately conclude that a LOT of pints were consumed before he left the chain of quotable, rambling phone messages. Cheers to any nine-year-old stoner rock band that continues to make relevant metal records and tour the world without leaning on the genre's all too obvious, leafy green clichés.

Orange Goblin were practicing a Sabbath/Floyd hybrid when first discovered by Cathedral main man (and Rise Above Records founder--thee original "all doom metal all the time" label) Lee Dorrian. He spotted them in the opening slot for an early Electric Wizard concert under their original moniker, Our Haunted Kingdom. One blazing single was recorded with this name, but by the time their debut disc, Frequencies From Planet Ten was released, the Goblin had assumed the ridiculous mantle that would make them known around the world. OG arrived in the late '90s, when Queens of the Stone Age, Man's Ruin Records, and the very term "stoner rock" were part of a burgeoning scene that was still years away from hitting the oversaturated slump it's now experiencing.

By 2000, Orange Goblin had recorded three albums, and toured Europe consistently (they've even supported Alice Cooper on a string of arena dates). Legions of fans were whipped and clobbered by the brash biker metal, and pleasantly tripped on the cosmic psychedelia woven into the mix. Producer/guru Billy Anderson twiddled the knobs on doom-fan favorite The Big Black, with its megalithic bass tones and nebulae-sucked-into-a-black-hole lyrical bent. The US tour that followed proved to Americans just what a powerhouse live show the Goblin could deliver, and turnouts were spectacular most everywhere (except in Portland, where they had to compete with Motörhead across the street). Folks that did make it out to the Satyricon unanimously agreed that this brutal live energy even leaves stoner metal gods High on Fire in the dust. No mean feat.

Perhaps weary of being lumped into a dying subgenre, Orange Goblin issued a new album in 2002 with a stripped-down rock approach that mirrored the Misfits more than Sabbath. It drew a line in the sand, crossed only by the band with their 2004 career summation Thieving in the House Of God. TITHG features the return of Billy Anderson, a leaner Goblin lineup (rhythm guitarist Pete O'Malley left to seek a career in art), and the best elements of all OG eras and all four previous albums. This is the best place for the curious Goblin newbie to start, and the show at Berbati's is guaranteed to be one of the heaviest things you'll see this year.