King Goat - Conduit - (9/10)
Published on August 9, 2016
Genre:Progressive Doom / Metal
Birmingham, England. Arguably this is where it all began. No Sabbath? No heavy metal…and no doom metal. Even to this day, the sounds pioneered on those first records are still heard as the pinnacle sound in the genre (the term Circle of True Doom comes to mind) and many contemporary groups seek to capture and mould it into their own. Riding on this wave may cause many to cry out that the genre thus cannot progress onwards, that it is trapped within its own comfort zone. Perhaps then it is fitting that the musically-eclectic city of Brighton, where styles and trends are often bucked, would be home to a band who do just that: King Goat may have started down the road of Candlemass worship, but with their debut album Conduit the shackles of genre have melted, freeing the band to blast beyond the redshift, leaving a trail of sonic ingenuity behind for all to reap.
This metamorphosis taken by the band since their ’14 eponymous EP is nothing short of grandiose. Combining elements of progressive, black and ‘Eastern’ metal, Conduit is the result of exposing their crushing sound to cosmic radiation outside the chapel of doom for a duration many bands of the ‘true style’ seldom achieve. It is the mutant we have long been waiting to stagger into our world to shake the very foundations we have built our sanctuaries on. King Goat do not rely on huge stacks, fuzz pedals or abyssal vortices to enhance their sonic tapestries; the near constant rhythmic shifts across the 42 minutes prove they are ambitious songwriters with a knack for enigmatic mysticism and swirling schizophrenic soundscapes. Though it is clear the voice belonging to Trim may be all that’s needed to spread their music, there is no denying the competence of Reza and co in generating at times a transcendental journey of ecstatic highs and nightmarish lows.
But it is the range Trim’s vocal delivery effortlessly projects that sets these guys apart from the rest. If he isn’t snarling deeper and deeper inside your brain in the lavishly evil ‘Sanguine Path’ (which features one hell of a time-change at the six-thirty mark) he is reaching near falsetto peaks during heart-breaking melodies in the epic ‘Revenants’. Album opener ‘Flight of the Deviants’, which takes more than a leaf out of John Wyndham’s sci-fi classic The Chrysalids, is a devastatingly heavy piece best heard with the lights off; whilst this track may show off the higher aspects of Trim’s range, ‘Feral King’ best highlights the lower end, both in terms of depth and extremity. And if the importance of voice has not been made obvious yet, check out the climactic moments of the title track, which sees Xysor from Eastbourne’s Vehement contributing to an almighty mural painted with the finest harmonies before descending into an onslaught of pit-inducing riffing.
And such is the music found here. One moment we are serenaded with acoustic rhythms and the next we are thrusted into the upper regions of the earth’s atmosphere at unforgiving speeds. It is safe to say that Conduit is the megastorm with many eyes. Though at times they might occasionally suffer from Opeth-syndrome (where they hang on a lead for seemingly indeterminable lengths of time…forgive me if the term is incorrect) this does nothing to detract from the sheer power the music possesses. And with few doom bands willing to lull listeners into such labyrinthine storms, who cares right? Blessed be the norm nevermore!