Goatess may be a new name, but doom fans have been anticipating this album for years. As long as they don’t expect Chritus and his Swedish bandmates to repeat what they’ve done before, they should not be disappointed with the debut, released this week by hip (if there can be such a thing in the long-suffering doom/psych genre) Finnish label Svart.
Formed by Christian ‘Chritus’ Linderson of Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Terra Firma and Lord Vicar in 2009 (originally named Weekend Beast), this is not strictly traditional doom. While Chritus’ vocals are as Ozzy-esque as ever, the promo materials namedrop Sleep and Kyuss as key influences on this project. I would add Monster Magnet (and in turn, Hawkwind) to that list, with the mid-album psychedelic space-rock excursions. One of the highlights, “Tentacles Of Zen,” starts with a long soundbite from I, Claudius (1976) with John Hurt. The best line, “Copulation on a cosmic scale!” was so good they repeated it.
Even on the less overtly trippy tracks, there is a prismatic, cosmic aspect to the guitar and bass tones (courtesy of Findus) along the lines of up and comers Elder and Wo Fat. The guys may not have even heard those bands, but I’m stoked to hear the parallels, resulting in the best sounding stoner/doom/psych album so far this year, with Niklas ably contributing guitar lines that suggest wobbling planets and snakecharmer melodies. And despite the pretty vast number of bands that count Sleep and Kyuss as influences, there’s only a handful that I think have even begun to explore the rich, psychedelic possibilities within the musical DNA. The album has a great, languid-to-lumbering flow to it, with the long songs totalling 66 minutes, allowing plenty of opportunity to fire up or pour your indulgence of choice and bathe in the atmosphere evoked by the deceptively simple songs. | Buy