Album Review | Goat Throne | Blood for the Blood Goat

Baaaaaaaah. That should be all the review you need for this album but if that doesn’t sate your thirst for goat blood then I will have to go on. Goat Throne is a four-piece stoner/doom outfit from Johannesburg, South Africa and the band is both violent and dirty while maintaining a warm, clinical and tight sound. 

Blood For the Blood Goat is much more uptempo than you would expect from most doom bands and that is why I added the stoner tag to the music. Stoner metal might even be a more accurate term but it falls into the field of doom nonetheless. The riffs are infused with an unholy mixture of stoner and hardcore punk sounds and the abrasive vocals go from Hideki Fukasawa/Randy Blithe type growls to more tradtional singing that one would associate with the stoner rock genre. The band is a hell of a lot of fun and the overall vibe of the music leans more towards that of party tunes than introspective bedroom doom. There is a strong Church of Misery influence that can be heard throughout the album, the extended pentatonic riffs induce a stoned catatonic haze yet all the while forcing you to move your skull along to the music, despite your now imposed, weed-zombie state of being. Another quality of this album is that it is consistent, all the tracks are nice and catchy and the mixing of the album makes it fall very pleasantly on the ears. That being said, this album has a unique element to it. While it is quite clearly an aggressive metal album, it is also has an enveloping, warm sound and has none of the harsh and sibilent textures that one would find in more extreme metal genres. This is neither a good nor bad thing but I would say this mixing style contributes to the album having a stoner rock type sound despite the heavy screaming.

The standout aspects of the album would be the riff writing and subsequent playing. The riffs stick in your head for days and Gavin Pincus and Nic Lancaster lock together like two estranged sailor lovers who haven’t seen each other for a decade. The vocal work on the album also deserves a mention. The powerful death metal-esque screams bellowed out by Lyle Van’Dango really help this album to stand out. This style of screaming is not heard much in the stoner rock genres and that is precisely why I find the vocals so compelling. It is also not often you hear singers who perform such vocals switch effortlessly into a crooning rock ‘n’ roll style of singing, and Van’Dango does so with aplomb. I also particularly enjoy the drum sound on the album. This is partially due to the way it is mixed but also has a lot to do with the drummer’s touch.  Greg Watson holds the bands together like the favourite child during divorce proceedings and although the drumming is not too flashy in terms of fills it serves as an anchor that keeps the music grooving. 

To talk specific tracks, “Goat of Misery” has to be my all-time top track on the album and as the title suggests is a homage to the great church of the same name. The track almost sounds like a cover at first but Van’Dango’s more sultry singing style and contained yet powerful screams set it apart from the aforementioned “sad religious venue”. Another moment on this album that gets me everytime is the chant of “you bring me down” as the first full-length track on the album, “Heartburn” draws to a close. The verse of “American Appetite” sticks with me for hours after turning the album off; working its way into my dreams at night. 

It is hard to attach any real criticism to the album as it ticks all the boxes for me, but if I was to try I would say the song structures in this album are fairly predictable giving the songs an almost popular music element. This is far from an objectively bad quality; however, if you are a fan of more progressive or experimental doom/metal, then this album is not that. Most of the solos don’t go on forever but hit you hard then run and this analogy holds true for the album as a whole. The strike to the face leaves you dazed, confused and eager for more (if you are a masochist like me). This album is a cracker. Give it a listen.

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You can acquire a digital copy of Blood for the Blood Goat via Goat Throne’s Bandcamp page. Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on new developments from them!

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