Orange Goblin The Big Black

It has taken them three records to do so, but England's Orange Goblin has finally made a record that lives up to the hype. The two records previous to The Big Black were awash in bad Metallica rip-offs and incomplete song arrangements, but this time out they have nailed the coffin shut. The songwriting has improved, and they have made one of the best UK metal records since Cathedral's debut nearly a decade ago. Starting off strongly with the one-two knockout combination of "Scorpionica" and "Quincy The Pigboy" (which has been greatly improved since first appearing last summer on the Rise 13 compilation), the record smoulders from beginning to end and is one of the best metal records in what has so far been a pretty uneventful year. (Rise Above)