Friday, 4 January 2013

Year Of The Goat - Angels' Necropolis (album review)

Swedish sextet Year of the Goat is one of those 'buzz bands' you hear about.  It seems like everybody is talking about them and joining their cult.  Being a non-individualist and not wanting to be left out of the cult, I caved in to peer pressure, as some weak person would, and ordered their debut full-length album from Van records.  I hadn't heard much for myself, just a song or two one time on Soggy Bog or Youtube, but sticking with the theme of Year of the Goat, I sheepishly just followed the herd and bought this album pretty much based solely on the opinions of others.  Does such a tactic always work?  Of course not.  For sure I've been disappointed at times in the past.  It may seem as though I like everything but I really don't.  So, did I like 'Angels' Necropolis'?

In a lot of ways, it's unlike anything I've heard before.  It seems as though one can only discuss music in relation to other music, which is a whole sky hook paradox thing that I don't even want to get into.  Needless to say, no matter how unique or individualistic I believe a band to be, the best way that I can think of the discuss a band, still, is to reference other music.  So far be it from me to break the mold here.  Year of the Goat is a kind of hybrid of early era Maiden and Priest heavy metal and Arcade Fire style indie rock.  Indie rock rhythm section with heavy metal guitars.  There's more to the band and what they sound like than that, but that's my brief summary.  But make no mistake.  Year of the Goat attempt to create a unique and singular vision, they want me to be lost for words while trying to describe their music.  From their bio:
"YEAR OF THE GOAT, while recognizing that the 60’s and 70’s saw the birth of true genius within the performance of dark art, aim is to abolish time and make you see it for the illusion it is - sinister gospels with properly dank atmospheres can be created whenever and wherever."
Year of the Goat is a Swedish band and as such, are very much a part of the Retro Rock movement that I have taken to calling The Golden Age of Swedish Rock.  There's only a small handful of Swedish bands on my radar that I wouldn't consider as part of this movement that are more in line with the traditional aspects of the stoner, doom or sludge genres.  This band however, straddles every line one can think of keeping it more in line with Witchcraft's genre-bending album 'Legend' than Captain Crimson's 70s worshipping 'Dancing Madly Backwards', for example.  Proggy song structures, fast/slow, quiet/loud dynamics, crunching guitars and moments of mellotron mixed with occult-themed lyrics and imagery sends brains on wild tangents, crafting varying mental imagery while listening.  One moment you're in a serene forest and all is groovy, the next it leads to a cave whose walls are splashed red with cauldron cooking fires and blood paintings.

For years beyond reckoning man has dreamed of the invention of The Time Machine and I have no conception of what mechanism might power such a device, but I have a vague and foggy notion that its fuel would be music.  Music moves the listener through time, sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards.  When listening to music time passes, sometimes unnoticed and one is carried through time.  With the aid of music time sometimes moves faster and sometimes slower.  It transports the listener to a different time and place to relive moments either remembered or imagined.  If time is an illusion, then Year of the Goat are master spellweavers and 'Angels' Necropolis' is premium fuel indeed.

Highlights include: "Spirits of Fire" and "I'll Die For You"

Rating: 4/5

1. For the King (4:26)
2. Angels' Necropolis (10:31)
3. Spirits of Fire (3:25)
4. A Circle of Serpents (5:39)
5. Voice of a Dragon (8:25)
6. This Will Be Mine (3:45)
7. I'll Die For You (4:17)
8. Thin Lines of Broken Hopes [feat. Tommie Eriksson of SaturnaliaTemple] (10:17)
Total Run Time: 50:42

From: Norrköping, Sweden

Genre: Rock, Traditional Heavy Metal, Occult, Indie Rock

Reminds me of: Arcade Fire, Grand Magus, Seamount, Witchcraft

Release Date: December 7, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Incidental music for hedgerow conversations with Gef the Mongoose.


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