Author: Gay For Gary Oldman
Artist: King Goat
Album: Conduit (2016)
Genre: Progressive Doom Metal
Hailing from England, King Goat play what can only be described as David Draiman of Disturbed providing vocals for a new Candlemass album, released in 2014 when the band had to stand up next to other doom releases by Yob and Thou in both scope and atmosphere.
Although comparisons to Draiman may cause hesitation, Anthony Trimming improves upon this template in every way. His cleans soar higher, his rasps cut deeper, and he rounds out his vocal arsenal with harsh growls and a few moments of what sounds like throat singing, as demonstrated on the gtitle track Conduit and the latter half of opener Flight of the Deviants.
The combination is actually quite magnificent, and Trim bellows out in customary epic doom metal fashion in ways that will make you stop missing Candlemass. Petros and Joe contribute some great guitarwork and some meaty, doom-laden riffs, even if they never quite live up to Leif Edling. The Feral King probably best demonstrates the masterful songcraft, and the band truly reaches a lofty and epic crest with Trim’s final eponymous bellows.
But beyond mere epic doom metal, the band understands dynamics well, layering more subdued passages with a sense of atmospheric, even primal tension. Highly strung clean guitars contrast with tom-and-bass drumming in Revenants, but never overstay their welcome and risk boring the listener. Some riffs take on a slightly stoner vibe, such as Sanguine Path, and beckon comparisons to Uncle Acid.
With all this diversity, there is a small detraction: the songs can, on occasion, seem a bit disjointed at times, switching between atmosphere, harsh growls with pummeling rhythm, before breaking into a powerful and crooning chorus. At times, these transitions don’t sound natural as much as pieces of music being arbitrarily placed together, and it would be a bigger detraction if each part by itself was not an absolute joy to listen to.
As if the band hadn’t already planted their foot solidly in the ‘epic’ genre, female vocals crop up from time to time, such as the climax of Conduit to elevate the band even further. This helps to ease the pain of the relative lack of guitar solos. Revenants closes with a spectacular one, but they are far less frequent than the genre and song lengths would suggest.
This is about as impressive a release as one could hope for from a debut, especially from a group without much of their respective resumes (at least according to the Archives). Seriously. Watch out for King Goat. A group of musicians this talented can only go up, right?
- Gay for Gary Oldman
Check them out here: https://kinggoat.bandcamp.com/album/conduit