Rock Song Review: Orange Goblin – “The Devil’s Whip”

It’s about time I reviewed another rock song, isn’t it? Today I’m reviewing “The Devil’s Whip,” the new single from Orange Goblin.

First impressions: Liked that. Can’t say it was particularly complex or original, but I liked it. Fast, loud, heavy – why can’t pop music be more like this? My job here would be so much easier.

The music: This might be a shorter review than the usual 1,000+ word leviathans I usually put out because there isn’t a terrible amount to talk about with “The Devil’s Whip”: pounding drums, a raucous, raging riff, all set to Ben Ward’s beer-soaked bark… typical Orange Goblin, for the most part. That said, there’s something refreshing about this new song: the arrangements seem a little looser, the production has more punch, the guitars have more bite – it’s like Orange Goblin on turbo drive. When was the last time the band had this much energy in them? For that matter, when was the last time the band had this much fun? I’ll just put it out there now: this is the most fun Orange Goblin song in quite some time, and that makes me happy.

There’s an obvious Motörhead influence on here, most notable in that simple, galloping riff, the relentless rhythm and the grizzled vocals (Ward even drops an “iron horse” reference at one point). Now, Orange Goblin have always had a little Motörhead in them, going back at least to 2002’s Coup de Grace album, so this isn’t a new coat of paint they’re using here. That said, the sound on “The Devil’s Whip” is darker and more menacing than previous attempts at this sound – hear that bridge where Ward sings “let’s ride, let it loose, let rip? Them’s some mighty nasty chords right there – which gives it a greater sense of danger. This is a song that’s tight and loose at once, reckless and fully in control, where the wheels could fly off at any moment but you don’t care because the ride is so exhilarating. This is a long-winded way of me saying that I quite enjoyed this song.

The lyrics: “That’s right / you can’t escape the devil’s whip.” Anyone else thinking of the Balrog from The Lord of the Rings? Well, actually, a little internet research tells us (read: me) that the Devil’s Whip is actually a road in North America  renowned for its popularity with motorcycle and sports car drivers. Given the speed and ferocity of the song the subject matter makes sense, though in typical OG fashion they dramatise and metalise it quite a bit, referring to a “dead planet growing old” and mentioning how “the devil’s whip will eat your heart and take your soul” (are we talking about an actual whip now?). It’s all lovely and violent and fun – the sort of stuff great heavy metal is made of. Admittedly lines like”it’s far too late to run / the devil’s at your door” don’t quite make sense given the context, but you know what? It’s such a great ride I’m not even going to pick on the lyrics too much this time.

Verdict: I suppose really I should give this a 3 because it’s essentially a Motörhead pastiche, but the sheer fun of it all warrants it a good 4 out of 5 from me. It’s simple but direct, lean but aggressive, heavy but fast – in short, a great rock and roll song, nowt more, nowt less.

Today’s double-up is “Devil’s Road” by Hughes Turner Project. It’s not as violent or energetic as “The Devil’s Whip”, but it does have Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. You can thank me later.

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2 comments

    1. I’m with you there – Eulogy was a cracking album. From what I gather of the new album’s sound “Devil’s Whip” is very much a one-off in this speed metal style, so hopefully the rest of the material takes the torch from Eulogy and moves their sound forward (if you haven’t already check out their other new song, “Sabbath Hex”, which is much better than “Devil’s Whip”). Thanks for reading.

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