Release DetailsLABEL I Hate Records
RELEASED ON 4/23/2007
The Austrasian Goat
posted on 7/2007 By:
The Austrasian Goat’s I Hate Records debut is the kind of disc you either immediately want to turn off, or find yourself strangely enthralled by with an addictive morbid curiosity, but it is most definitely not an instant gratification type of album. Singularly manned by former Shallnotkill guitarist/vocalist Julien Louvet, known as ‘The Goat’ for these purposes, this self-titled exercise in cold, monolithic French black metal is not without its moments of high quality, and shows a great deal of potential for this new project which, for the moment, fails to entirely set itself apart from its peers.
Three of the nine tracks last less than two minutes, with the longest tune, “Unchained” checking in at almost twelve, but this disc sure feels a lot longer than it actually is. The ponderously slow, often laborious feel of this album isn’t quite as graceful as Leviathan, but at the same time isn’t the consistently harsh, caustic foray into misanthropy that you’ll find with Xasthur, although the music of The Austrasian Goat really isn’t too far of a departure from those two. Bare bits of fractured piano, the scraping terseness of passive/aggressive grandiose black metal riffs layered with a thick doom overcoat, and passionate, surprisingly clear and clean vocals are the name of the game here. Bereft of blastbeats, raging tremolo or over-the-top theatrics, The Goat strikes a balance between minimalism and subtlety that allows atmospherics to play a significant role without fully spacing-out into La La Land, bringing a directness to the album while maintaining a multidimensional and uncompromised sound.
When the production values arise, things are a little harder to dissect. “I Hate The Human Race” benefits from the spacious mix with its malevolently crashing chorus, and grindingly slow riffs, but an increase in heft with a more dense bottom end could have sent that song to an even higher level. “Silence Is A Weapon” is a deceptively deep, carefully orchestrated instrumental that again reaches into a subtle bag of tricks in order to get the message across, with volume swells, and a soothingly mid-ranged array of calming notes that eventually leads into “Black Is Not A Colour” where things once again return to a less serene headspace. Closing endurance test “Unchained” is actually where The Goat brings it all together into one massive self-contained saga, mixing some inhuman and genuinely creepy clean vocals with equally uncomfortable high-pitched screams, and bold rough melodies that resonate with emotion.
The negative I come up with here is the fact that nothing on this album really grabbed me by the balls and yanked, it was almost too easy to listen to. There was something lacking that didn’t make me feel too carried away with the vibes and melancholy, even though this was executed very nicely. It feels honest, so it’s not as though I’m calling Mr. Louvet a poseur, but aside from a few tortured phrases, the aforementioned majesty of “I Hate The Human Race”, the beautiful and brief juxtaposition of “River And Fog”, and the incredible closing track, there was a lot in between that just sort of floated by without leaving any marks behind. So it’s not so much a matter of doing anything wrong, it’s just a matter of not offering anything really special at this moment to make a bigger impact by way of any ear-grabbing musical arrangements. Again, very well done for this style of lumbering doom/black metal, but it tends to slip away very quickly from memory once it’s done.
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