Label: Aural Music
Release Date: 20th of April 2018
Genre: Progressive Doom
Doom is a difficult genre to get right, as evidenced by the amount of bands who get it wrong. Slowed down Black Sabbath riffs and 9 ½ minute track run times does not equal good song writing. When done right however it can be some of the some of the most oppressive and darkly atmospheric music in metal. This leads us to the Brighton quartet; King Goat. Having released their debut album Conduit in 2016 to much critical acclaim, they are now ready to unleash their second offering, Debt of Aeons.
What was immediately striking was the impressive vocals of Anthony “Trim” Trimming. Sounding in parts like Candlemass’ Messiah Marcolin and Primordial’s Nemtheanga, he has voice that is equal parts operatic and epic, but also ugly and abrasive when needed. The way he switches between vocal styles is incredibly smooth, even when changing mid sentence. With his vocals being high up in the mix they are the focal point of each track, with his melodies drawing you into the narrative and drama of each song.
While the vocals steal the spotlight somewhat, it doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the band. While the term “progressive doom” may put off some people, the connotations that term brings doesn’t translate into the music. It is progressive, but in the sense that it incorporates different styles into a genre that has a reputation for being formulaic. Candlemass is an obvious influence, but if you’re a Mastodon fan you’ll find a lot to like here. A lot of the riffs sound like they could have been on Leviathan or Blood Mountain, and the more expansive passages are reminiscent of the ethereal and space like sound of Crack the Skye. The mix of those two sounds creates an interesting dynamic of complex doom and groove, making for an engaging listen.
There’s seven tracks in total with one of those being a four minute instrumental and the other being a short interlude. Psychasthenia is slow building and atmospheric instrumental, with an unsettling whispering that builds into an almost shamanic like chant as the track progresses. While the tracks have a long run time (the shortest being 7 ½ minutes long), there is enough going on that they don’t outstay their welcome. This makes for an album that may have a run time that is nearly an hour, but is engaging enough that Debt of Aeons feels more like half that.
Production wise, on the first listen I was disappointed that the guitar tone sounded a little flat and lacked the crushing heaviness that I associate with doom. After repeat listens it makes more sense, as the lo-fi earthy tone fits the barren and desolate imagery that the music conjures with Trim’s vocals more than compensating for any heaviness that I felt was missing.
King Goat is a shining light in a genre full of derivative bands, and Debt of Aeons is a great example of how to do progressive but interesting music. Even if you aren’t traditionally a fan of doom, there is a lot to love if you like the heavier end of music. Essential listening for those in the world of extreme, and worth checking out for those who may not of delved into metals darker territory’s.
Recommended Track: Doldrum Sentinels