Thursday, 8 August 2013

Goatess - ST (album review)

Goatess formed in 2009 as Weekend Beast.  I don't know when this album began to take shape, but if it began to happen early on, it must have been torture to wait to finally release it after so long.  The patience and restraint shown by a band that waits four years to release an album goes a long way toward establishing the character of the band and the kind of ethic that went into the songs on this album.  Knowing full well that they had the "star-power" on their side in the form of Christian Linderson to release sub-par material and still make a splash, they took their time to create a work that is substantial in all dimensions.

This is workmanlike doom, manipulated by the deft hands of visionaries.  The band confidently stroll on cloven hooves through eight hard-earned tracks, most of which tip the scales at over seven minutes in length.  Coming in altogether at nearly 67 minutes, it's a lot of album to get through, but there's scope here provided by well planned out song structures and depth thanks largely to a slightly more experimental approach to side two of the album.  It's obvious that the band spent a lot of time crafting this album.

As far as individual songs go, the overall package is the key here, much like Serpent Venom's 'Carnal Altar' album, the individual tracks may not be as important as the overall sound, vibe and tone of the album taken as a whole.  This is not at all a bad thing.  In fact, it's a great thing.  It's exactly the kind of intangible element that makes for an infinitely replayable album.

That's not to say that there aren't terrific moments laced throughout 'Goatess', but without many real stand-above-the-others type tracks, the overall impression will be of moods rather than specific songs.  However, opening cut "Know Your Animal" provides that one big chorus moment that all albums should have, especially on opening tracks.  It sticks with you long after the album is finished playing, it's the one song that gets caught in my head like a bat in a belfry and continuously brings me back slavering for the next go at this album.  It's a subtle hook, one enlarged by echo and distant atmospherics but it works.  This is followed up by the percussion and wah happy "Alpha Omega".  It's this early on where the overall feeling of the album comes to the fore.  The songs don't all sound the same, but they are of equal value and they can be a bit same-y in places, especially in terms of guitar tone and of 'feel'.  Each song is as good as the last, so no matter how different they all are, no matter which distinguishing features the songs have, 'Goatess' feels less like a collected 'photo album' of various songs but a 'motion picture' that flows from scene to scene.  This happens in the most natural of ways, something that could be as easily achievable as say, using the same guitar tuning for all songs.  It's not forced, nor do I feel is it even intentional.  But once again, this overall feeling gives the album that instant classic grit.

The second part of the album beginning with the "Oracle" mini-suite reveals a more psychedelic side to the band, it shows the band has depth and proves they are willing to try different things.  Indeed the very origins of the band arise from this desire to try something different.  Without factual evidence I would guess that this is actually the point where side C of the 'Goatess' double LP begins.  The opening moments of "Oracle Part 1: The Mist" changes the complexion of the album completely but does so without violating the feel of what preceded it.  What greets the listener here is a shimmering, wavering effects-laden intro leading into a main riff soaked in reverb and an arrhythmic tom-and-crash-heavy drum riff over which Chritus croons of the slithery, slippery nature of reality.  This is heady stuff, not for the weak-minded or faint of heart.  When "Oracle Part 2" slams in, it's a bucket of ice cold water to the face (see link to video in the tracklist below).  If one were going to start the album anywhere, I would recommend starting with "Oracle Part 1".  I imagine the only reason Goatess decided not to start the album here is because "Part 1" is not representative of what the rest of the album is like.  That, and it's always good advice to put your best foot forward and start with your best song first, second best song second and so on.

Goatess swing for the fences with their debut album and I'll be darned if they don't knock it into the parking lot.  You almost need to ask yourself "what doesn't this album have?"

Highlights include: "Know Your Animal" and "Full Moon at Noon"

Rating: 4.5/5

1). Know Your Animal (7:45)
2). Alpha Omega (7:10)
3). Ripe (7:55)
4). Full Moon At Noon (8:01)
5). Oracle Pt. 1: The Mist (4:40)
6). Oracle Pt. 2 (8:53)
7). King One (10:37)
8). Tentacles of Zen (11:52)
Total Run Time: 106:52

Niklas - Guitar
Findus - Bass
Kenta - Drums
Chritus - Vocals.

From: Stockholm, Sweden

Genre: Doom, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Count Raven, Lord Vicar, Serpent Venom, Terra Firma, The Wandering Midget

Release Date: July 5, 2013

Better Reviews:
The Obelisk
Temple of Perdition

Goatess on facebook


OR HERE (digital)

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