Sweden’s Goatess released their debut LP in 2013 and came to my attention mainly via their singer (Lord Vicar and ex-Count Raven and Terra Firma frontman Chritus Linderson). Their music is a cross between stoner rock and doom with plenty of psychedelia thrown in for good measure.
The drop-tuned riffs and extended, mid-pace jams that characterised the first album are still present here, I’m pleased to say. The opening track ‘Moth To Flame,’ begins with guitarist Nicklas’ now trademark delay-soaked clean guitar and sparse drums, which gradually build as Chritus’ vocals come in. Far from being boring, this layered approach makes the record sound like an extended jam session that just happens to be crushingly heavy and tighter than a Yorkshireman’s purse strings!
Chritus’ vocal performance sounds more confident this time round, and his nihilistic, philosophical lyrics about “living on borrowed time” and the hypocrisy of the world suit the riffs perfectly. I have to give special mention to the lyrics, as they held my attention much more than the first record. Despite the dark, honest and depressing subjects they cover, there is room for word play and humour, especially on the closing track ‘Good Moaning.’ I didn’t expect to see a reference to ‘Allo ‘Allo on a doom record! It’s second only to ‘Four Candles’ on the new Witchsorrow album!
I felt my attention drifting off a little towards the end of their self-titled debut, but Goatess II doesn’t inspire that sluggish feeling. The rhythm section compliments the riffs and vocals perfectly and drummer Kenta makes playing slowly sound effortless, and never laboured. Even the most slothful of riffs have a swinging groove that keeps the listener nodding their head.
The cover artwork depicts the band as Christian saints complete with halos. This relates to the title track, which opens with a sampled spoken word intro explaining how the early Christian saints were appropriated from earlier sun-worshipping traditions. I don’t know if it’s from I, Claudius as it was on the previous record, but it’s very effective and sounds like it’s from a similar era.
Goatess II – Purgatory Under New Management sees the band carry on in much same vein as their debut, except the production is a little clearer, the playing is tighter and (to my ears at least), the song writing has improved. Like many of my favourite bands, they do the AC/DC and Motorhead thing – they find a sound they are good at and stick to it. Goatess haven’t taken any massive risks with this new record, but that said, they haven’t turned out a pile of experimental drivel, either!
Goatess II – Purgatory Under New Management is out on 15th April via Svart Records.