Tuesday, February 10, 2015

...see the world as it turns to dust: GOYA - 'Satan's Fire' EP

There’s a place where the gargantuan, Iommic riffs of Sleep collide with the gritty, feedback-strewn psychedelia of Glitterhouse Records-era Monster Magnet and the narcotizing waves of distortion unleashed on Bardo Pond’s peerless 'Lapsed' album, and that particular destination can be found on Goya’s excellent 'Satan’s Fire' EP. Goya’s initial outing, '777' (review HERE), found the band reveling in the seedy underbelly of stoner metal and doom, bringing to mind inevitable comparisons to such acts as Electric Wizard, Cough, and, most notably, the aforementioned Sleep. 'Satan’s Fire' is in no way a departure from the band’s earlier accomplishment, but it is definitely a refinement of style executed with an array of effects pedals and impossibly fuzzed-out distortion, amplified by extreme hatred and disgust. With 'Satan’s Fire'—and their subsequent split release with Wounded Giant on STB Records—Goya is officially a force to be reckoned with.

EP opener “Malediction and Death” is about as evil as it gets. It’s a slow, sinister build of oscillating feedback encircling a mighty, wyrm-like distortion that sounds as if it is finally stirring after centuries of uninterrupted slumber. Amidst the heaving, roaring chaos, guitarist and vocalist Jeff Owens (who also performs bass duties on this release) spits forth vitriolic curses and condemnations. When he snarls, “I wanna watch you die,” there’s absolutely no reason not to believe him. “Symbols,” the middle track, is a brief instrumental that is both sparse and ghostly. Consisting of only a handful of raps on the cymbals courtesy of drummer Nick Lose, “Symbols” isn’t quite as unsettling or as jarring as the percussive soundtrack to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but tucked neatly between “Malediction and Death” and the title-track “Satan’s Fire,” the results are quite effective. “Satan’s Fire,” unlike the EP opener, does not hesitate to launch into its stoned-groove. It’s another killer track that easily surpasses what the band had accomplished with '777.' The only real complaint that could be leveled against “Satan’s Fire” is that it is tonally and tempo-wise too similar to “Malediction and Death.” It’s a minor complaint though, as this EP totally smokes.

For those who miss the early days of Monster Magnet, particularly the raw, heavy, evil-inspired and drug-fueled excess found on their self-titled EP—or their spaced-out mind-fuck, 'Tab'—then Goya’s 'Satan’s Fire' may partially fill that void. While Goya doesn’t quite go to the beyond by reaching out to the vast expanses of space rock as Wyndorf and company have, there is still enough dopesmoke and cannabis-induced paranoia to appease any true lover of stoner metal or psych-tinged doom. 'Satan’s Fire' is an impressive follow-up to a pretty damn fine album, and Goya is definitely a band to keep an eye on.

(Originally published at Heathen Harvest Periodical, edited by Sage Weatherford)



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