Sweden’s Year Of The Goat have created for themselves an aura of wonder regarding their incredibly well scribed songs as previously featured on their 1st release ‘Lucem Ferre’ and their subsequent 7” ‘This Will Be Mine’, both of which were released by Ván Records. Drawing inspiration from the occult soaked gossamer fields of 60s and 70s rock, they penned hooks which so carefully followed the lines of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ that they became regarded as their forebears heirs. Infectious riffs, resplendent vocals and coursing rhythms have, across the course of their existence, increasingly made this band difficult to ignore. And so it was with great excitement that Ván announced the impending release of the bands’ first full length album ‘Angels’ Necropolis’.
Comprising of 8 songs which together make a Luciferian ritual pathway of salutation, Year Of The Goat have attempted to build on their previous successes with the release of ‘Angel’s Necropolis’. Unfortunately, they have softened their occult content to a consistency where their ritual intent neither reverberates with foreboding nor has the hook appeal of previous endeavours. This isn’t solely down to the lyrical content but the music which accompanies each evocation. Whereas before, each turn and embellishment lent greater colour and dynamic range to the on-going development of the song, this new raft of material lacks any propensity to propel the music, the lyrics or the listener to another place. Whereas before the band were able to spill a blackened landscape onto and then through your preferred listening device, this time the erratic nature of the riffs, punctuated chord progressions, and lifeless melodies leave the lyrics exposed and bare. No longer do the words emit power from a conjured vortex of becoming but rather lie exposed on a surface of soft pallid rock pop tunes.
Having listened to this album a few times its 50 mins length seems overlong, and by the fourth song you will be wondering whether the 50 mins hasn’t already passed and by the fifth you will be wishing it had. If similarities are to be made, something which in no way means to cheapen their efforts, I can only think Year Of The Goat decided they wanted to appeal to Muse fans. For the vocal harmonies stick so closely to Muse you surely will conclude they studied the band over a long period of time. While the music does little better than appeal to goth fans with flashes of maybe Magnum’s ‘Eleventh Hour’, or Budgie’s ‘Power Supply’ mixed with mid-Maiden-esque solos resulting in the guitars sounding incredibly languid and out of shape and place.
In short, this album is fragmented, and therein lies the problem, I don’t know what they wanted to achieve, it certainly suggests they felt pressure to release an album based on their past successes but in the process overlooked due deliberation for quality over substance. In the end I really hope you find me wrong, that you find something I couldn’t, because Year Of The Goat are a fantastic band, or at least they have been a fantastic band, and so I sincerely prey to Lucifer that this album doesn’t suggest the beginning of a gradual decline from excellence to nothingness.
Scribed by: Pete Hamilton-Giles