|Goatlord's second demo has entered history as one of the most extreme and filthy release of its time, reeking of black magic for miles around.|
|In Metal history, the 80s will be remembered as the cradle of most extreme subgenres: Thrash, Death, Black… These new styles were shaped by a bunch of bands trying to overcome the limits. Not only did they succeed, they even broke them down for good since their hellish pace had no limit at all.|
But, for all we know of Him, Satan has more than one lie on his tongue, and His musical expressions are not necessarily characterized by a mad rush towards speed and brutality. Evil can progress slowly too, and Doom Metal carrying the flame of Black Sabbath's first full-length proves it.
Driven by this infernal spirit, two bands laid the foundations of a hybrid subgenre mixing Death and Doom Metal, creating a new lineage in the extreme Metal genealogy. Both bands were formed in the United States, one on each coast: Dream Death on the East Coast (Pittsburgh) and Goatlord on the West Coast (Las Vegas). The former unquestionably win the "genealogy" point (considering their demos were released back in 1986 and their album, 'Journey into Mystery', in 1987), but the latter have many solid arguments to win extra "extreme" points since Goatlord are full of sordid feelings, entirely in line with the City of Vice they're hailing from.
The quartet composed of Ace Still on vocals, Joe Frankulin on guitars, Hal Floyd on bass and Jeff Nardone on drums was established in 1985. Serious business began two years later with the simply titled 'Demo '87'; Hal Floyd had been replaced by Jeff Schwob in the meantime. This first effort displayed a rough and raw style, but the band received some attention within the local scene that was still dominated by Punk and Hardcore.
Attention from the underground outside their country raised with the second and mythic demo named 'Sodomize the Goat', self-released in 1988. Its infernally blasphemous title and cover are in no way deceptive: Far more crushing and venomous than the first demo, this second effort pushes the Death Doom style of Goatlord to an astonishingly putrid intensity. This impure bastard of Possessed, Death, Pentagram and Witchfinder General has proven to be one of the most extreme and filthy release of its time, reeking of black magic for miles around.
A godless celebration where captive virgins are sadistically tortured, covered with cold semen, eviscerated in excruciating pain before being left for Satan to desecrate – again and again. Those are the mental images inspired by 'Sodomize the Goat'.
Saturated guitar strings evoke the roaring of the most terrifying demons to which the riffs, stretched-out to the limit, give a tremendous resonance. Each pounding of the toms is a stake rammed into the heart; cymbals are cracking like metal chains rattling in thick obscurity while the sludgy pulse of the bass runs like blood from a sacrificial altar. This pure deadly carnage was captured with a four-track recorder to create an uncompromising, climactic intensity similar to a live performance.
Evil and hoarse, Ace Still's vocals sound like a mantra delivered by a cruel haruspex in a complete state of trance. They can turn really bestial too, for instance on 'Blood Monk', 'Underground Church' and 'Unholy Black Slut' – the manic guttural tones sound pretty much like what can be heard on Sarcofago's 'INRI'. Those Black Metal shades (or proto-Black, as some people might want to say) reveal the direct influences from Bathory, Sodom and Hellhammer, which Goatlord claim to love. Powerful Thrash attacks are no surprise either, since the origins of all these subgenres are fundamentally connected.
During the 70 minutes that the album lasts, hell opens its gates. Under the effect of severe psychological troubles, an entire new side of Doom Metal materializes that rips out the listener's brain and lets it float in a cauldron of acid. This is particularly true during the LSD-infused 'Acid Orgy'.
Boldly mixing as many influences as concepts, Goatlord also put forward an exotic form of occultism. Inspired by the dark art of voodoo, 'Voodoom Mass' and 'Chicken Dance' summon up ancient spirits whose coming is hastened with rivers of chicken blood.
Inhuman slow-downs are also part of the macabre feast, as the oppressive song 'Twilight Rem' can testify – a highly remarkable track which also happens to be the doomiest composition ever written by Goatlord. Haunted by insane distortions, it creeps onward like a catatonic body, so slowly you can almost see the viscous trail it leaves in its wake. That song is a true anticipation of diSEMBOWELMENT's Doom!
Daring and flawless, Goatlord can be branded as one of the ultimate bands of their time, nothing less. And this demo, 'Sodomize the Goat', comes as a kind of synthesis of everything extreme Metal was about in the 80s.
After this masterpiece which helped to make Goatlord a cult band, the quartet from Las Vegas headed for a short but hectic future. But this is another story…
Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.
1. Voodoo Mass
2. Blood Monk
3. Chicken Dance
4. Twilight Rem
5. Underground Church
6. Distorted Birth
7. Acid Orgy
9. Unholy Black Slut
10. The Fog
11. Possessed Soldiers of War
Duration : Approx. 69 minutes
Visit the Goatlord bandpage.