Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 4/27/2005
Threating Force EP
posted on 5/2005 By:
Having pimped these guys for so long, it truly pleases me to say that this will probably be their last independent release, rumors suggesting that the boys have finally found a more commercially viable avenue to issue their work. They deserve it, too, for as any Goat Horn enthusiast knows, this young trio is perpetually refining and fine-tuning their sound, displaying marked improvements with each successive record and performance. While their debut Voyage To Nowhere was by no means a bad record (I still listen to it VERY often), being an alcohol-imbibed potpourri of Cathedral-flavored doom, galloping Raven-esque NWOBHM and a thrashy Dream Death edge, their sophomore effort Storming The Gates made said record seem sloppy, unfocussed and frivolous. Opting for a decidedly tighter, more pronouncedly heavy metal oriented approach, peppering rampaging, urgent sections with sporadic shades of their doomy leanings, Storming The Gates remains to this day one of the finest Canadian records since the days of Sacred Blade, Thunder Rider and Anvil.
Needless to say, I was incredibly excited to get this in the mail from the band, in the hope that their new material would present a band even MORE assured of their abilities, even MORE eager to restore true metal in the eyes of a complacent metal public. What you get with this EP is a bit of a mixed bag - 3 brand new originals that bode VERY, VERY well for the future and 2 reworkings of older material that are quaint, but earnestly don’t quite match the brash charm of their originals, all showcasing a new vocal approach that will quite likely serve to repel a host of people who have to this point sung Goat Horn’s praises.
Toronto metalheads would likely have had a taste of this in recent performances, where Jason has brandished a more melodically inclined version of the Lee Dorrian-ish histrionics of the first two records. This has really come full circle here - the wailing falsettos that open “Threatening Force” aspire towards Halford heights but fall far short, whereas the vocals that follow shortly after are similarly unconvincing, lacking the gruff vitriol and charm of previous forays. Jason has never been the most accomplished vocalist, but has always been a favorite of mine just because his voice has always oozed so much personality and so much flair - in much the same way as Mr. Dorrian’s, to be honest. The new Jason Decay is a bit hard to stomach in parts - it is perfectly competent when he adheres to manageable notes and ranges, but it is when he aims for stratospheric octaves that everything becomes a little ridiculous. Here’s hoping that this isn’t a genuine sign of things to come and that someone reminds Mr. Decay how cool the vox on the first two records were/are.
That minor gripe aside, the new songs display a tighter, more technically developed and streamlined Goat Horn, who appear to have ditched their doom leanings altogether to craft something more cogently buttressed in the NWOBHM movement than ever before. The results of intensive practice sessions and years of studio work have manifested themselves in breathtaking, precise results - for a power trio, Goat Horn play with all the finesse of a four or five piece, Jason Decay’s bass often providing a lead counterpoint to Brandon Wars’ lead axe work and thus negating the need for the twin lead (though the record does feature layered guitars). The playing is so fucking deft and tight on this record - check out the instrumental section 01:30 through “Threatening Force”, featuring some pulsating double bass work from Steel Rider and an intricate, superbly musical guitar/bass duel. The downtempo passage that closes the track is BEAUTIFUL, the throbbing double bass and hectic, squealing leads collapsing into an epic, ominous stadium-sized moment. Fucking brilliant.
“Right Heavy Metal” is perhaps the most anthemic and blatantly commercial-leaning moment in Goat Horn’s history thus far - an ode to the heavy metal lifestyle (complete with refrains of “Times have changed, so I’ve been told…but I am never letting go!/ I live for heavy metal” in the hook) that could, to many cynics appear to be a gimmicky cash-in targeted at the retro crowd. Such accusations would be idiotic, of course, considering the genuine spirit that has permeated everything Goat Horn-related to date, as well as the rousing, irrepressible nature of the song. Surrender yourself and sing along, this is by far the catchiest ditty Goat Horn have imprinted their names on to date, and will quite likely be a lead single on their forthcoming LP. “Rise Into The Night” opens with a fucking FANTASTIC passage featuring really cool double bass work (corresponding precisely with the riffing) and soul stirring, with flavored riffing. WUARGHHHHHH!!!!!! The song finds Jason returning to his more comfortable coarse delivery, only to relapse into some rather horrific clean vocals in the hook, but the song is so goddamn good it’s a minor complaint, really.
To be honest, I must say I don't care too much for the two reworkings, which are somewhat minute alterations of the originals, made automatically inferior by the new vocal approach and a series of tampered vocal melodies that should have been left alone. A bit of an uneven EP, then, but still one that is worth your time, particularly since the limited edition of 1,000 is close to selling out at this point. Purchase this and you can lay claim to underground bragging rights...these guys WILL blow up.
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