Orange Goblin, Pieces of Molly & Infinity Ritual – The Mothership: April 15, 2024

“I came up with the name Orange Goblin as all our favourite bands had colours in their name (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Pink Floyd etc.)” Ben Ward. 28 years later UK Stoner/Doom/Metal Orange Goblin finally performed toru shows in Aotearoa, Simon Coffey was at the Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland show with beer in one hand and a google.doc in the other.

Orange Goblin, UK born in 1996, a five-piece until 2020, whence they became a four-piece, have transmuted through the years from their roots in stoner rock, through doom into a metal band more akin to the style of (early) Motorhead mixed by an alchemist with Black Sabbath and a smidgen of Discharge.

They have been to Australia, but never graced our shores, until now, my prolegomenon to the band was eight blue moons ago with 1998’s Time Travellin’ Blues, an album meh’d by many critics, but one I hallowed, and played not enough times, during my days on 95bFM hosting The Hard, Fast & Heavy Show.

Infinity Ritual

Infinity RitualNgāmotu/New Plymouth three-piece Infinity Ritual formed in 2020 by Adam Colless (guitar/vocals) Jason Karam (bass/mellotron​) and Mark Thomas  (drums/percussion), sit somewhere between Doom and Stoner Rock, and to date they have two EPs under their belt, 2022’s Infinity Ritual and 2023’s 2. 

Whilst the Infinity Ritual EP is a little bombastic, as expected, is a recording of a band just starting and beginning to metamorphosis (under Covid conditions), 2 on the other hand is a much-more interesting piece of taonga, displaying experimentation and the blossoming of creativity by the group. With this in mind, I was waiting with much anticipation to see them live for the first time.

For a three-piece, they can create a lot of noise, no pregnant pauses, no uncomfortable emptiness, just a lot of energy, passion and audio aggression. In a short set of six songs (no chance to play their 19-minute zenith song Stones from 2 ) all from the two EPs, with a sound a little less refined than the studio recording, it was easy to pick out the earlier versus later material.

When Infinity Ritual focussed on content and finesse rather than ‘the need for speed’ their compositions were noticeably more engaging. Tonight they created a buzz for themselves, and with an album in the genesis period, notoriety may await them.

Pieces of Molly

Pieces Of MollyThis Ōtautahi/Christchurch-based three-piece describe themselves as the bastard child of a Motörhead and AC/DC one-night stand, which says it all.

Aggressive guitar riffs, thundering drums, groovy bassline rhythm and belting vocals come hither with immediacy. Pieces of Molly are unrelenting in their sonic attack, like a palate cleanser at a high-end restaurant, they perfectly break with the stoner-doom sound preceding them, as they render down their classic metal influences into their interpretational narratives.

It’s classic 70s/80s/90s heavy metal played with skill, aptitude and some punk rock energy. A dozen years in the industry, and with multiple releases including their debut 2022’s Self-Titled album, Pieces of Molly certainly have pedigree and mana to show for their commitment. They set the scene for Orange Goblin perfectly.

Orange Goblin

Jesus, Ben Ward, singer for Orange Goblin is a tower of a man! As he sets up his microphone, there’s barely 20cm between the top of his head and the roof, not punk rock pogoing tonight. As they grace the stage, Ward is vocal and chatty immediately about finally being in Auckland New Zealand and welcomes all on a Monday to a night of heavy metal.

Tonight’s version of Orange Goblin is ¾ of the originals, with founding Martyn Millard, having moved on in 2020 and being replaced by Harry Armstrong. But you wouldn’t know that, with the way the group: Ward, Millard, Joe Hoare (guitars) Chris Turner (drums) meld together as a well-oiled and highly tuned mean-machine.

Orange GoblinWard’s introduction of Orange Goblin as heavy metal, is a divination of the show tonight, as they dig deep pulling out not only their first-ever recording (when they were still called Our Haunted Kingdom) Aquatic Fanatic to their latest single (Not) Rocket Science (from their forthcoming album Science, Not Fiction). In between they blast out classic tunes such as  Solarisphere, Made of Rats, The Man Who Invented Time and The Filthy & the Few.

In a sea of Orange Goblin t-shirts (the merchandise stand is doing roaring business), the crowd are putty in Ward’s charismatic hands. Like a Big Brother (1984) figure, he belts out lyrics fawning with dystopian science fiction themes, his way of making social comment on the world today, which is possibly lost on the audience as they are focussed on the now and here moment. But then again, so are the band as Ward shares “How fucking good is this?”

Joe Hoare on guitar is a sight to be seen as he proficiently manipulated his guitar, shredding riffs and lead through the evening, creating sound and havoc, Further highlights come towards the end with a shortened version of Time Travelling Blues, with experience and mana, Ward dismisses the foppishness of doing an encore and continues Orange Goblin’s pummeled synthesis of metal, punk, and hardcore, in two monster classics Quincy the Pigboy and Red Tide Rising.

It took 28 years to make it to Auckland from London, and 11 years to cross the ditch from Australia to New Zealand, but by god, it was worth the wait!

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery:

Orange Goblin:

Pieces Of Molly:

Infinity Ritual: