I know what you’re thinking, I had exactly the same thought, “Oh fuck, another bloody ‘Goat’ band”, but stop right there, if I were to tell you that Goatess feature the vocal talents of one Christian ‘Chritus’ Lindersson, formerly of Count Raven, Saint Vitus and Terra Firma and currently of Lord Vicar, would that make you pay attention?
Well it bloody well should, because Goatess are fantastic.
Far from being another in the seemingly endless chain of Goat-based occult doom or whatever-the-hell-type bands, Chritus and bandmates Niklas, Findus and Kenta – on guitar, bass and drums respectively – have taken a different tack and managed to take the previously almost-completely stripmined sound of Kyuss, circa Blues For The Red Sun, and make it sound fresh and, dare I say it, fun to hear again.
Sure, there’s more than a tinge of Sabbath in there, as one would expect with Chritus’ involvement, but on the whole Goatess hews closer to the fuzzed-up tone of California’s favourite desert-fried sons than to the average bunch of Iommi-worriers.
Niklas knocks out woozy-edged guitar that moves from psych-edged subtlety to great big fuck-off ballsy rifforama like greased weasel-shit, with a sprinkling of eastern-sounding melody woven through, and is more-than-ably backed up by the bravura drum performance of Kenta and the deeply impressive, fluid, nuanced bass of the quite frankly fantastic Findus, leaving Chritus to work his magic safe in the knowledge that the heavy lifting is well and truly taken care of.
The throbbing surge of ‘Know Your Animal’ kicks Goatess off with a bang, canyon-sized grooves powering ahead, driven by pulsating bass and taut, tight percussion with Chritus Ozzy-tinged vocal going a long way toward taking that ‘stoner rock’ edge off the material. Following this we get the steely bass, tumbling drums and wah-wah of ‘Alpha Omega’, the hazy slow-burn that swerves into prime Sabbath groove of ‘Ripe’ and the cowbell flaunting Clutch-plays-Supernaut rocker ‘Full Moon At Noon’ – particularly notable for its absolutely massive fuzz bass tone and, of course, that cowbell.
The second half of Goatess throws up the two part ‘Oracle’ – part one ‘The Mist’ showcasing the psych side of Goatess with its shimmering mesh of backwards and vibrato guitar and part two, ‘The Oracle’ taking a lumbering Sleep-esque direction – the droning hypno-fuzz colossus ‘King One’ and I Clavdivs (sic) sampling finale ‘Tentacles Of Zen’, a track which, of all of those here present, most evokes the thick primordial soup of cosmic sound of Blues For The Red Sun, most notably ‘Molten Universe’. The sound throughout is perfectly captured and tends toward the huge but here it really hits the heights of spaciousness, all four members filling the sound out to colossal proportions but still maintaining perfect cohesion. Mid-way through the expansive percussion of Kenta is allowed full reign with a clatter of tablas, bongos and the like raining down upon the track, but Chritus really shines here, comfortably exploring the lower register with aplomb and using the extra breathing space around him to his advantage.
Goatess is another feather in the already fairly feathery cap of Chritus, and those of his musical compadres, and you should most definitely not be put off by, y’know, the whole ‘goat’ thing and the Kyuss influence. Honestly, this is one of the most solid, enjoyable listens to have passed through my jaded ears in a fair while and I’d love to hear more, be it in a live context or as a continued recording project.
Hell, I can wholeheartedly recommend Goatess based upon the bass performance of Findus alone, so the rest of it is extra icing on an already nicely cherry-topped especially tasty cake.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson