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Wednesday 7 November 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Corrosion Of Conformity & Orange Goblin (Paul H)

Corrosion of Conformity, Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry & Black Moth, Great Hall, Cardiff

The announcement of this four-band bill which contained absolutely no filler sent me into a spin when it was announced months ago. Unfortunately, ill-health prevented Mrs H from joining me but accompanied by the Ed of Musipedia, photographer extraordinaire Konstantina Frasia, new scribe Alex and Hutchings junior this was another of those fabulous evenings which you wished would never end.

Having interviewed Chris and Joe from Orange Goblin (coming soon) we joined the healthy queue which was forming outside the venue. Ten minutes after doors and Leeds’ Black Moth (7) hit the stage hard, crashing through a five-song set. I’ve seen these guys a few times before, including a great headlining set at Fuel earlier this year. Harriet Hyde’s vocals improve on each viewing whilst the heavier slant of the new material from the excellent Anatomical Venus is now sounding huge in the live arena. Guitarists Jim Swainston and Frederica Gialanze certainly riffed it hard, with Istra, Moonbow, Sisters Of The Stone and Severed Grace all getting the heads nodding as the venue started to fill. There’s a confidence flowing through Black Moth which is pleasing to see, and their set which concluded with Blackbirds Fall (the sole track from Killing Jar) was over far too soon.

I’d often heard about LA’s Fireball Ministry (8) who’ve been around since the late 1990s but had hardly heard their music. Well that will change very soon as the band played a blistering set which got the entire venue jumping. Led by the demanding James A Rota II on vocals and guitar, the band powered their way through a selection of songs from their five albums including three from 2003’s The Second Great Awakening. Flanked by guitarist Emily Burton and stand in bassist Helen Storer (usual bassist John Reeder was missing), the band were anchored by the powerful drumming of John Oreschnick. It was Rota II who cajoled and teased the audience, demanding more action and response. Although there wasn’t huge amounts of movement on the stage, the bands chunky riffs and hard rock was certainly appealing enough to ensure attention remained focused throughout. A band I will want to catch again.

As the strains of AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way To The Top faded, the magnificent Orange Goblin (10) roared on to the stage, took the venue by the scruff of the neck and shook the holy hell out of it. To say the band were on fire would be a massive understatement. I’ve seen Goblin many times, but this was probably as sublime as they have ever been. A quality setlist which mixed tracks from this year’s brilliant The Wolf Bites Back with older classics like Quincy The Pig Boy, Saruman’s Wish and Scorpionica flew by far too quickly. Ben Ward was in magnificent form, stomping around the stage like a four-year-old who had eaten all the Christmas Haribo’s in one sitting, constantly urging the crowd to take it higher, all the while wearing a grin which never faded. Martyn Millard and Chris Turner maintained the engine room which allowed guitarist Joe Hoare to do what he does best, deliver the dirty monster riffs that are integral to the band’s driving sound. As the crowd surfers started passing over and the pits opened, the temperature increased. Made Of Rats, The Devil’s Whip and They Come Back (Harvest Of Skulls) all pulverised before Red Tide Rising brought the most magnificent of sets to a close.

Formed in Raleigh, North Carolina way back in 1982, it would be an understatement to call Corrosion Of Conformity (9) legends. Despite numerous line-up changes, this was in many fans eyes the definitive collection. With original guitarist Woody Weatherman holding court stage left, Mike Dean laying down the bass and Reed Mullin’s solid drumming providing the back line, most attention focused on Pepper Keenan front and centre. The classic Deliverance line-up. And how they delivered. A perfect setlist, with a liberal scattering of tracks from the band’s back catalogue mixed with four from Deliverance and three newbies from this year’s excellent No Cross No Crown, (The Luddite, Forgive Me and Wolf Named Crow) all received a monstrous reception from the crowd who were lapping up every minute. A ripping Wiseblood was another highlight as the set moved forward apace. With the band running slightly overtime, set closer Albatross appeared to be the final song but COC had different ideas and returned to perform the majestic Clean My Wounds with the house lights on. Superb stuff and sheer quality from a band who know exactly how to treat their fan base.

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