Release DetailsLABEL VÁN
RELEASED ON 12/7/2012
Year Of The Goat
posted on 12/2012 By:
First things first: I will not abbreviate Year of the Goat as YOG, as appears on their Facebook page and elsewhere, because YOG is some badass grinding Swiss chaos who dropped Half the Sky about a year ago and I’ve been meaning to cover them throughout 2012. So Year of the Goat is herein shortened to YotG . Also, I’m not sure to which ‘Year of the Goat’ the band is referring. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the last one was in 2003 and next arrives in 2015. YotG is Swedish, though, so maybe that’s inconsequential and their name suggests Satanic mastery, like "this is really gonna be a banner year for Lucifer!" Well, that’s actually a main theme of Angels’ Necropolis, but more on that later. (Oh, and I also found out my 1980 birth year makes me a ‘Metal Monkey’ …so that’s kinda cool.)
Year of the Goat is best kept brief. The shortest tracks — “Spirits of Fire” and “This Will Be Mine” — inject the blackest of seductive magicks into their evil blood, with my favorite line “Let the stars be the candles on your grave” memorably beginning the former, and my favorite harmonies surfacing in the latter, its guitars swirling around the impassioned chorus. Verbosity often works against them, but when they carve down to choice cuts, there’s just enough to sink your teeth into.
What needs beefing up are these riffs. The guitar tone frequently felt thin and jangly, with the barn(church?)burning opener “For the King” revealing rare sonic density. The title track that immediately follows buckles under its ten-minute-and-thirty-second prog sprawl; while a mighty infectious chorus descends halfway, there aren’t enough strong chops delivered, and the bass of Tobias Resch is seriously buried. Frontman Thomas Sabbathi sings his heart out and has a wide vocal range, but unlike many playing this style of music, lands in power metal territory; he kinda sounds Finnish, too — like Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius or something. He also swings an axe alongside guitarists Per Broddesson & Don Palmroos, and receives background vocal harmonies from mellotron player Mikael Popovic, their newest member.
This much is true: The sinister Swedish sextet is keen to expound. Hell, their press release had a 900+ word bio that tells not only the story of the band, but of the album itself. In this way, they’re trying too hard in one respect, yet ignoring another. (Iceberg Theory, dudes — check it.) Year of the Goat may have a crazy ambitious debut, but this needs allure. No… this needs fucking thrall. We don’t just want to hear a story about an epic celestial battle where Lucifer is victorious, we want to transport there, feel God struck down, ascend with the Fallen One. Notably, YotG is among those who proclaim their performances “live rituals” so we might have another "gotta see it to believe it" group.
To be sure about my early reaction, I revisited the album after reading the promo completely. Because I don’t delve headlong into every single record I get, and occasionally miss the write-ups until later, it took a few spins before their “alternative gospel” from a positive Satanic standpoint became fully intermeshed. Admittedly, the core concepts behind Angels’ Necropolis are clearer now. Be that as it may, merely playing a bunch of cool parts can be meaningless without a backbone, and I sense a lack of conviction behind Year of the Goat. Far be it from me to tell someone exactly how to create music, and it’s rather uncouth to directly question the integrity of a person’s beliefs. But take their Ván Records labelmates in The Devil’s Blood for example: similar in style, tone, subject matter, and execution …but bonded better together. What are they doing extra?
No one is being accused of faithlessness here; it’s more a case of luminosity, and sometimes it’s easier to see the darkness when you stand in the right light.
Register to post comments.