Thanks Universe for Twitter once again, for I discovered one of my favorite albums of 2015. Apart for wasting my time tweeting nonsense, I follow many international magazines, record labels and bands. It was a surprise when Southern Lord Recordings announced the release of a new album of Goatsnake, because I thought they had split 15 years ago.
This band was originally formed by a couple of guys, Guy Pinhas and Greg Rogers, after The Obsessed split, to be joined by Greg Anderson (Sunn O))) ), and the vocalist Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool). They were active for barely 3 years, and released 2 albums and 4 eps.
How did I get acquainted with this band? It was by chance, in 2000, at London’s Underworld. I attended a double lineup show with Goatsnake and Orange Goblin opening for them. I had been told they were heavy, doom and good, thus I waited to see them. When they jumped onto the stage it was as if the air was thickened, and the atmosphere turned suffocating, but they were so intense I felt somehow like hypnotized or something. It was a great show. I often remember it even though I’d never be able to recall any song played that night. I bought their ep Dog Days, which some years ago “vanished” from my CD collection, which included a cover of ‘Hearbreaker’ of Free, and ‘Long Gone’ and ‘Man of Light’, which I used to like.
For many years I had totally erased this band from my mind, till, as advanced, I read a tweet announcing the release of Black Age Blues, their new album in 15 years, and immediately felt curious about it. It tool just a couple of listenings to get hooked.
It keeps the essence of what I remember Goatsnake were back in 2000, if not better. Super heavy riffs very Sabbath influenced, doom yet very rooted bluesy sound, and Stahl’s voice, which is not the most brilliant nor amazing, but still has something that really appeals me.
When you start listening ‘Another River to Cross’, with a guitar intro by David Pajo of Slint, is as if you were transported to an evil suffocating swamp, with mosquitoes sucking your blood. Approaching an album with this feeling of awesomeness from the first second, nothing can be wrong. ‘Black Age Blues’, ‘Jimi’s Gone’, or ‘Grandpa Jones’ grab your balls, but if there’s a song, THE song, is ‘A Killing Blues’. It’s simply insane. The more it advances, the more intense it gets, to the peak with Stahl repeating “Lightning, Thunder, Wash my Soul to the Ground” a capella as a kind of mantra. Oh, shit! It’s terrific!
Goatsnake are not gonna change the world, and will keep on playing at small venues, but with this renewed business card, I’m really glad they are back.