Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Goatsnake: Black Age Blues (2015)

Hey, Yeah

For the uninitiated, Goatsnake are minor legends of doom metal. If you need to know their philosophy, the liner notes to one of their records list all their gear (only the best) alongside Black Sabbath riffs. In other words, they are unapologetically old-school.

Well, it’s been eleven years since they’ve released any new material, and even though Metal Archives says they’ve been active for all the years since 2004, I think that’s an overstatement. Playing a show here and there isn’t “active” in the same sense that you and I would use the word. In a sense, this is a long-awaited reunion.

And how does it sound? This is not the depressing doom I usually gravitate toward. Instead, it's practically upbeat, and catchy, with a Southern flair (despite their geographic origin). The wonderful "Coffee & Whiskey" sums things up nicely, the chorus, "Coffee whiskey, 'til the cows are coming home" and the riffs practically drawling under energetic solos. Even the pounding "Graves," with that ill-boding title and "Steal the light from the sun" doesn't trip my dark mood; it puts a smile on my face and involuntarily bangs my head for me.

Clean, manly vocals over catchy doom metal riffs. That’s all you need. But nice added touches lie in the harmonica of “Elevated Man,” the Hendrix-esque “Hey, yeah” emphasis points on “Jimi’s Gone,” and gospel-inspired female backing vocals (appropriately by a group called Dem Preacher's Daughters).

Don't miss this one.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Bonus Feature! I drew a goatsnake:

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