Saturday, December 28, 2013

…forever dead forever stoned: GOYA – ‘777’

With their 2012 demo as a foundation Phoenix, Arizona three-piece Goya have constructed a Sabbathian altar to the heavens which emanates and projects mind-warping waves of distorted bliss and acid-soaked leads into the cosmos with their full-length debut, ‘777’. Not simply a flexing of reverential muscle, ‘777’ brings heft and groove to the forefront resulting in a perfect blend of sludge, doom, and tripped-out stoner metal with no shortage of hooks. And that is what separates Goya from the herd—the hooks. Usually in the form of a catchy guitar lead, but they also come in a well-placed peel of feedback, a vocal melody or lyric, or from the down-tuned, earth-quaking hypnotic tremors of the rhythm section.

‘777’ is instantly a gratifying listen, particularly for those who like their riffs overblown and grimy. “Night Creeps”, one of the strongest tracks of the album and a carryover from the demo, is a fine example of the band’s ability to create or potentiate euphoria through the repetition of fuzzed-out riffs and interstellar guitar leads. The majority of the track is as slothful as a Reverend Bizarre jam, but infinitely more spacious and tripped out. As a whole, if forced, ‘777’ could be labelled “stoner metal”, but the album—and “Night Creeps” in particular—brings a heavy dose of doom to the table.

It should come as no surprise that in addition to a heavy veneration for altered states of conscious Goya imbues the six tracks of ‘777’ with an occult atmosphere both musically and lyrically. With the final track—the aptly titled “Bad Vibes”—Goya adds a misanthropic edge to the proceedings resulting in one of the darkest tracks of the album. Dismiss the tales of raising the dead or the stealing of souls, “Bad Vibes” has nothing but disgust for the human race while upholding a veneration for the Beast.

Goya’s ‘777’ is a fantastic late addition to an already killer year in heavy music. Given the time to stick around and fully sink in it probably would have made several more year-end lists. As it stands ‘777’ is some of the finest sludge and doom influenced metal to be released this year. Despite an obvious debt to Black Sabbath, Goya has embraced the conventions established by their forefathers and have made travelling a well-worn path both interesting and compelling. Goya’s approach to heavy, psychedelic music will likely appeal to fans of Tombstones, Curse the Son, Wounded Giant, and ‘Witchcult Today’ era Electric Wizard.



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