Have a look at that logo and you’ll automatically think you know what Goath are all about. It reeks of first wave Black Metal, of a time when Extreme Metal was being forged and the sub-genres were not yet as defined as they became in the very early 90s. The band definitively mixes an old brew of Black, Death and Thrash in their sound. Their name seems to have reminiscences of the very old Impaled Nazarene (“The Oath of the Goat,” anyone?). This being said one may superficially file these guys under “Yet another evil retro band.” One would be mistaken.
The oath of the Goath?
Without being too old, Goath are no bunch of newbies aiming for some trve cred. They are well known personalities of the Metal scene in the German city of Nürnberg. Some of you may have heard about the Death Metal band Deathronation or the Black Metal band Total Hate? Also, Mr. Goathammer owns or owned the Bela Lugosi: the nicest pub to have a beer if you are in Nürnberg and enjoy Punk and Metal. Hell, I wish the place will survive the lockdowns and I’ll be able to go there and drink a “Grüner“ or six of them next time I’m in town… where was I?
The band formed in late 2015 and had a crazy start. Their demo was published by Vàn Records – their label to this date – in 2016, their debut came out in 2017 and their second album in 2018. They combined their recording activity with a lot of touring, something they are damn good at. While their demo was kind of your generic old school Extreme Metal, you could already feel what makes these guys stand out from the masses. Barbarism, brutality, speed, noise and evil? Goath has it all, but so do a bunch of other bands in the genre. These guys add flawless, virtuous control of their instruments and aspirations with high-quality and original song writing to the mix. These aspects were not that shiny in the demo – which is nevertheless great – but become very apparent in their debut and really explode on their second album, which was just a perfect storm. After three major releases in three years, came three years of recording silence. The question in 2021 is “quo vadis,” Goath?
The Unlight seems to be in good shape
“The logical evolution from its predecessor? A more mature album“? You can cross those two off your album review bullshit – bingo game! Over the past three years Goath have not been busy reinventing themselves. Why should they, when they already had managed to create a very personal sound with their second album? They were busy elsewhere. Mostly, they did quite a lot of concerts in Europe and America, spamming from gigs in underground venues to very successful appearances in renowned open-air Festivals. I speak of experience when I say that no one should miss seeing Goath live if they have the chance. I know I’m repeating myself speaking of their gigs, but it is actually relevant to grasp what this new album is about. Anyway, the pandemic ended their touring plans and they are delivering us the next best thing to that experience to enjoy at home. I say this because “III: Shaped by the Unlight“ has been recorded live in studio. While it is by no means a live album, it does sound awfully organic and in no ways overproduced. While their previous opus had a dirtier, more “nekro“ production that made it sound darker, this time everything sounds a bit more real, as if it was just coming out of a good PA. The joy of this sound is that it allows the listener to fully appreciate the qualities of Goath as musicians. This applies to the instrumentation as well as to the vocals, that are usually sung in brutal duets and are quite the identity sign of the band.
As I said before, what Goath does may have the barbaric spirit of the old school, but it actually is a highly technical brand of Death Metal with Thrash elements that eventually falls into the pits of Black Metal. Please, fear not when I say “highly technical.” I don’t mean that these guys are about showing off how far they can move their fingers. Their obvious virtuosity stays at the service of really smart song writing, full of energizing grooves and mighty soundscapes. There is not an element out of place on this album, no filler, not a song that is too short or too long. Changes of tempo, complex riffing and well placed breaks keep the listening experience engaging. At the same time, there are neither weird experimentations nor intermezzos here: the shorter songs, some very short, are like an explosion of technical brutality while the longer ones build up an atmosphere and focus on the more Black Metal side of things. The Album is arranged like a violent fall into darkness. It starts with a rush of chaotic energy to slowly evolve into something darker in its second, more mid-tempo oriented half. The music flows in an elegant way despite the diversity of sounds, and builds an extremely strong album that may have its highlights, but is better enjoyed in one piece.
As the attentive reader may have noticed by now, I’m a bit of a fan of Goath and not ashamed of it. If you were not into their second album, there are chances you won’t enjoy this one either. But if you did, or don’t knew them before but like what I’ve described, go for it! I’ve been playing the promo non-stop for a couple of days and I can’t wait to have the LP spinning on my turntable. On top of everything, the cover is yet another amazing artwork by Misanthropic Art, one of my favourites.
Rating – 4/5